Firefighters unravel hose.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Israel has sent a team of firefighters to Ethiopia to battle the forest fires raging in the Simien Mountains, the Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday morning.
The snow-capped mountains are one of the country’s main tourist attractions and have faced blazes intermittently over the last two weeks. The Simien Mountains National Park was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1978 because it contains several rare animal species including the Abyssinian wolf, the Waliya ibex and Gelada baboon.
“Under the instruction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Defense, a special delegation of firefighters arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday morning to help extinguish the huge fire that has raged for two weeks in the Simien Mountains area in northern Ethiopia,” the ministry said.
The nine-man team from the Fire and Rescue Authority, as well as expert from the Home Front Command, is making its way north to join local firefighting forces.
“The arrival of the delegation was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Prime Minister Netanyahu after Israel’s government immediately acceded to a request from the Ethiopian government for assistance in extinguishing the fire,” the Foreign Ministry explained. “A request [for assistance] was made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Friday.”
"An @israel i mission of 9 experts in firefighting has landed this morning in Gondar to join the local forces in Simien Mountain. They will also advise on various techniques in containing fire," he wrote.
Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Raphael Morav tweeted on Sunday that “#Israel stands by #Ethiopia in fighting the wildfire in Simien Mountain National Park.”
“An @israel i mission of 9 experts in firefighting has landed this morning in Gondar to join the local forces in Simien Mountain. They will also advise on various techniques in containing fire,” he wrote.
South Africa, France and Kenya have also sent assistance to help extinguish the blaze.
Last month, a wildfire ravaged through the region, damaging 342 hectares of forest in the national park.
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