Washington, USA — The American people, through the U.S. Agency forInternational Development (USAID), recently sent a second technical assistanceteam to Greece to work with Greek authorities in the ongoing response to thedevastating fires in July and August. This Burned Area Emergency Response teamis working alongside Greek counterparts in select areas identified by theGovernment of Greece, to demonstrate how the U.S. Forest Service implementserosion control measures in the immediate aftermath of devastating burns. Thework of the U.S. team will reduce further natural resource damage and preventadditional loss of life and property from potential flooding and landslides.
The USG team includes a hydrologist, soil scientist, geologist, cartographer,and documentation specialist. The USAID team is being coordinated by the U.S.Forest Service International Programs Disaster Assistance Support Program.Technical support for the team is coming from the U.S. Forest Service RemoteSensing Applications Center and U.S. Geological Survey EROS Data Center.
To date, USAID has committed approximately $1.95 million to assist with therecovery from the 2007 wildfires in Greece. In addition to the follow-uptechnical assistance team, USAID provided emergency funds to the Hellenic RedCross, emergency relief commodities, and a $1.35 million support package for theGovernment of Greece, which includes personal protective equipment forfirefighters as well as technical assistance through burned area stabilizationsupport. This assistance is in response to the national state of emergencydeclaration on August 25 by the Government of Greece.
According to Greek firefighting authorities, the 2007 wildfire season inGreece was the worst on record, killing 76 people, injuring numerous others, andburning 667,000 acres of land. A lengthy heat wave in June and unusually strong,dry winds in August exacerbated the country’s risk for wildfire.