Firefighters unravel hose. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Israel has sent firefighters to help extinguish the large fires raging in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains, the Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday morning.
The mountains are one of the country’s main tourist attractions and have faced blazes on and off over the last two weeks. Its national park is home to several rare animal species including 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 in a statement.
The delegation of 10 fire fighters from the Fire and Rescue Authority was sent to the country together with an expert from the Home Front Command. The group are making their way to the fire area where it will join the 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.”
Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Raphael Morav tweeted on Sunday morning 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 said they will send assistance to help extinguish the blaze.
Last month, a wildfire ravaged through the region damaging 342 hectares of a forest in the national park.