While the Lebanese nation turns to prayers and many are rushing to help on the ground, Lebanon has turned to Europe as fires have been ravaging the country from the north and the south, devouring green and dry in several parts of Lebanon.
Cyprus and Greece are the first to respond to Lebanon's distress call, with Cyprus sending two fixed-wing firefighting aircraft from its forestry department to Lebanon to assist in combating the forest fires.
“We stand in solidarity with friends and neighbors in times of difficulty. Together we are stronger,” said the foreign ministry of Cyprus in a tweet. Lebanese defense minister Elias Bou Saab is currently in Cyprus meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelides.
Two fixed-wing #firefighting aircraft of the #Cyprus Department of Forests #now en route to #Lebanon responding to urgent request for assistance in combating raging forest #fires. We stand in #solidarity with friends & neighbours in times of difficulty. #Together we are #stronger pic.twitter.com/DS3oTp4R5x— Cyprus MFA (@CyprusMFA) October 14, 2019
While Prime Minister Saad Hariri had previously said via the national news agency NNA, "We have contacted the Europeans who will send means of help," Interior Minister Raya El-Hassan has confirmed that Cyprus and Greece have responded to Lebanon's urgent call for help.
In fact, these fire-fighting airplanes are already at work in Lebanon, together with the Lebanese army, which has been fiercely relentless trying to stop the ravaging blaze, along with their helicopters, and our firefighters, as well as firefighting volunteers.
Moreover, UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL in the south has also joined in the efforts, and numerous Lebanese civilians have been rushing to help in their areas. However, access to various parts hasn’t been possible due to thick smoke and high-voltage power lines.
In the past few days, dozens of fires have erupted around Lebanon apparently due to unusually high temperatures and strong winds. Lebanon’s firefighters have been fighting to stop the raging blaze for two days at no avail.
At the moment, heavy smokes continue to cover the skies over Chouf, the South, the outskirts of Beirut, and parts of Akkar. Homes are to the ground, heavy ashes are covering towns, countless of people are fleeing their regions, and dozens of people are enduring breathing difficulties.
Casualties are not yet announced, other than a volunteer firefighter who lost his life trying to put out the flames, as his family informed NNA.
While waiting for more help, as Jordan has also promised to dispatch help from its side, the Lebanese people have taken to social media, sharing photos of the blazing fires, and expressing their anxiety and prayers, as we all watch our beloved country being devastated by massive fires.