Italy, Romania sending more aircraft, minister says


Greece’s public order minister has said Italy is dispatching two Canadair firefighting planes and Romania is sending a third aircraft to help combat wildfires near the Greek capital that have claimed the lives of at least 74 people.

Minister Nikos Toskas said late Tuesday that the aircraft were expected to arrive Wednesday morning to bolster firefighting efforts. Toskas said that if necessary, Greece would ask other European Union member states for additional help.

Toskas said never before have there been so many offers to assist firefighting efforts, lauding the solidarity other countries have shown. He said climate change was responsible for the gale force winds that had fanned the flames, adding that Greece had never before experienced such strong winds.

EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said the 28-member bloc will take steps to upgrade its response to natural disasters that have been exacerbated by climate change. [AP]