USA — The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $50,000 for the purchase of firefighting equipment and protective gear to assist the Government of Croatia in combating ongoing wildfires. Earlier this week, the U.S. Embassy requested USAID’s assistance to support fire responders, particularly in Croatia’s Konavle and Zupa Dubrovacka municipalities, in the province of Dalmatia.
Unusually hot and dry weather and strong winds have exacerbated the 2007 wildfire season in Croatia, according to the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. More than 800 separate blazes in July burned woodlands, natural park land, and farms, and caused a large number of civilians to suffer from smoke inhalation. The worst affected area is Dalmatia. Fires have also destroyed houses in the town of Dubrovnik which is recognized by the UN as a World Heritage site. Unexploded landmines from the war in the early 1990s, together with mountainous and inaccessible terrain, are hampering the efforts to combat the blazes.
USAID is closely monitoring the overall wildfire situation in southern and eastern Europe and will continue to provide additional assistance as needed.
For further information on USAID, including its emergency assistance programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov.