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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article10 February 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

Wildfires: EU deploys more than 250 emergency responders to Chile

Aid worker amids firefighting planes.
© European Union, 2018 (photographer: Pavel Koubek)

Following a request for assistance by Chile, France, Portugal and Spain are deploying more than 250 firefighters, coordination experts, and medical personnel to the most affected areas via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Numerous wildfires are burning across central and southern Chile due to record high temperatures. The European civil protection response includes:

  • a team of 141 firefighters, coordination experts, and medical personnel from Portugal
  • a team composed of 80 firefighters from France
  • 2 ground forest fire teams of 28 people total and a forest fire-fighting assessment and advisory team (FAST) of 10 experts from Spain
  • a liaison officer from the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is deployed to Chile and an EU civil protection team is planned to be sent in the next days
  • the ERCC has activated the EU's Aristotle reporting service and the Copernicus Emergency Satellite Mapping Service, producing 15 maps so far.

Earlier this year, the EU has already channelled €100,000 in emergency assistance to support the Chilean Red Cross working with people affected by the late December fires in the upper part of the Valparaíso Region, 120 km from Santiago.

The EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in constant contact with the Chilean authorities to channel further assistance and the EU stands ready to provide further help as requested.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “At a time when our continent is facing such massive emergencies as the earthquake in Türkey and Syria and the war in Ukraine, I praise France, Portugal and Spain for not forgetting what is happening in other parts of the world. The response to this overwhelming disaster, mobilised by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, demonstrates yet again its value added in international efforts to save lives, while representing best of European solidarity in action both within the EU and around the world.”

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “European solidarity knows no borders. We stand by Chile at this time of great need and are proud to support the response efforts. I thank our first responders for putting EU solidarity in action. Chile can count on our support in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change, a global challenge.”

Background

When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Once activated, the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinates and finances assistance made available by EU Member States and 8 additional participating states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Türkiye) through spontaneous offers.

Since its inception in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded to over 650 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU.