Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran help Georgia fight Abastumani forest fire

Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran help Georgia fight Abastumani forest fire

30 August 2017

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Georgia / Ukraine / Azerbaijan / Iran / Turkey – A forest fire near Abastumani in southern Georgia is still burning and more foreign countries are offering their assistance to Georgia.

This afternoon, a special headquarters set up to handle the fire issued a statement saying that apart from Ukraine and Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran are also sending aircraft to help Georgia fight.

Iran have sent two helicopters, Turkey have sent a firefighting aircraft and two helicopters, Azerbaijan have sent a helicopter and Ukraine have sent a firefighting aircraft.

Ukraine will send a firefighting aircraft to help Georgia fight a forest fire that broke out yesterday near Abastumani, a small town and climatic spa in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region.

Last night, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation regarding the situation in Abastumani.

Later on, a statement was published by Poroshenko’s press office, saying that on Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian plane АН-32П, belonging to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, will fly from the Ukrainian city of Odessa to the Georgian city of Batumi.

The aircraft is expected to arrive Georgia in a couple of hours.

The Turkish Ambassador to Georgia said this afternoon that Turkey will also send a firefighting aircraft and two helicopters to Georgia. He said that the aircraft and helicopters will be in Georgia by this evening. Turkey sent an aircraft and two helicopters during Borjomi Gorge fire too.

Meanwhile, a Georgian Interior Ministry helicopter has been working to extinguish the fire since early morning.

Manpower has also been mobilised to the scene. Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili said that about 1,000 firefighters, rescuers and rangers are currently battling the blaze and more are getting ready to join them if needed.

Mgebrishvili said that last night a 4-km road was paved through the forest so that firefighting engines can approach the fire pockets. He added Georgia has enough manpower but it needs help with aerial resources and a request of assistance has already been sent to partner countries.

Last night another forest fire was reported in Likani forest near the town of Borjomi too. The scale of that fire was relatively small so Emergency Service workers managed to extinguish it in several hours.

A number of wildfires occurred in Georgian forests this month. The largest fire was in Borjomi Gorge that burnt for seven days before being put out two days ago.

An investigation is underway to find out the causes of frequent forest fires in Georgia this August.

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