Towns cut off by inferno

Greek and Turkish Cypriots to cooperate on fire fighting

17 January 2013

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Greece/Turkey — Ôhe bicommunal Technical Committee on the Environment has announced a new environmental initiative – a confidence building measure on “Partnership for the prevention of forest fires within the buffer zone”..

The initiative is implemented by Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber (ETEK) and the Union of the Chambers of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects ( KTMMOB).

According to a press release, the project is expected to help both communities, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, to work together to tackle this problem. To project aims to make a comprehensive assessment of the problem of fires within the buffer zone. As mentioned, this will include the identification of high-risk areas, areas with inadequate infrastructure for fire prevention and the risks to productive resources of the region.

It also includes evaluating the appropriateness and effectiveness of the existing system of forest fire management, measures for their prevention, detection, suppression and the main causes and factors affecting the start and spread of these fires.

The aim of this project is to lay the groundwork for cooperation on the issue of forest fires in the buffer zone, which is based on hard evidence and data from all stakeholders, including residents of surrounding areas.

The project covers only research and confidence building in the prevention of forest fires. The location of the study is initially limited to 2 locations in the buffer zone, Limnitis and Lefka.

The initiative “Partnership for the prevention of forest fires within the buffer zone” is based on a proposal made ​​in May 2008 by the Technical Committee on the Environment and approved by representatives of the two leaders in June 2008.

The bicommunal Committee was set up in the context of the most recent effort to resume negotiations on a political settlement in Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, which President Demetris Christofias initiated after his election in March 2008.

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