The EU has provided 27 vehicles for extinguishing forest fires
In order for all regions of Serbia to be adequately equipped to fight forest fires, preserve human lives, property, as well as forest ecosystems, Mateja Norčič Štamcar, Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Serbia and Francine Pickup, Permanent Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia, today handed over 27 vehicles for extinguishing forest fires to Milisav Miličković, State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) of the Republic of Serbia.
The total value of these vehicles is over 1 million euros, and will belong to the administrations and departments of the Sector for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia in Subotica, Zrenjanin, Kikinda, Pancevo, Sombor, Novi Sad, Sremska Mitrovica, Sabac, Valjevo, Smederevo, Pozarevac, Kragujevac, Jagodina, Bor, Zajecar, Uzice, Cacak , Kraljevo, Krusevac, Nis, Prokuplje, Pirot, Leskovac, Vranje, Novi Pazar, Prijepolje and Belgrade.
Thanks to these vehicles, about 3,300 members of fire and rescue units throughout Serbia will be safer and more efficient when extinguishing forest fires.
Jadranka Joksimović, Minister for European Integration in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and Sandra Nedeljković, Acting Deputy Director of the Office for Public Investment Management, also attended the ceremonial handover of fire trucks.
“I am very glad to see that these 27 state-of-the-art vehicles are now available to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the fight against forest fires as soon as they occur, in hard-to-reach areas, in every corner of Serbia.” The EU is there for the people in Serbia, in every difficult situation that can happen, “said Mateja Norcic Stamcar, Charge d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Serbia.
Milosav Miličković, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, pointed out that thanks to good organization and teamwork, this project, started in 2019, was successfully completed. “The space of the Sector for Emergency Situations worth 2.6 million euros is still to be improved,” Milickovic added, noting that Serbia has not had such modern vehicles so far and that he hopes that cooperation between all partners will continue in the future, in the interest of all. and above all the citizens of Serbia.
According to Francine Pickup, the UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, in order to preserve the health of people and the planet and maintain economic growth, we must protect forests, both globally and in Serbia. “Extreme weather conditions that can cause forest fires, such as heat and periods of drought, are becoming more common due to climate change. “According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, out of all the forests that have been destroyed in the country since 2002, 40% have died in forest fires,” Pikap added.
Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović stated that the Government of Serbia, in cooperation with the EU Delegation, has allocated more than 14 million euros from the IPA program for 2019 for the improvement of the civil protection and emergency management system.
“Considering the risks of catastrophes, together with the European Union, we are realizing this project with the goal of ensuring greater security of the citizens of Serbia, protecting material, cultural and natural goods from challenges and risks of this kind.” By donating 27 fire engines, we will enable the competent services to more easily control forest and fires in the open, even in remote and difficult-to-access areas. The vehicles will be evenly distributed in the regions, and in the event of severe fires in the area, there will be the possibility of their quick joint engagement from neighboring regions, for the benefit of all citizens of Serbia, “said Joksimović.
Sandra Nedeljković, Acting Deputy Director of the Office for Public Investment Management, noted that firefighters are people who essentially want to save and help others, adding: “Since 2014 and the great floods, the Office has worked closely with the Sector for Emergency Situations and we we know very well how much effort is needed and how much each catastrophe costs our country. That is why together we put prevention in the forefront. The EU is Serbia’s largest donor in the post-flood reconstruction phase of 2014, helping to strengthen our country’s resilience even in peacetime, so that we are more prepared to face new disasters. We are extremely honored to participate in activities that aim at the daily safety of our citizens. “
Donated vehicles move much faster than standard fire trucks and can efficiently localize fire even in hard-to-reach areas. This is crucial for an immediate response immediately after a fire breaks out, as well as for the protection of people living in remote areas.
To make their impact on the environment less harmful and fuel consumption lower, vehicles are equipped with low-emission engines (EURO 6 standard).
Forests cover close to 30% of the territory of the Republic of Serbia. The increase in average temperatures, due to global warming, increases the probability of fire outbreaks, which poses a great threat to forested areas. On the other hand, forests play an important role in halting climate change, as they absorb one third of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion on an annual basis. Therefore, the preservation of forest ecosystems is crucial for the protection of the planet and for the quality of life of future generations.
The delivery of fire trucks for extinguishing forest fires was organized within the project “EU for Serbia disaster resistant”, which is financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP. The goal of the project is to contribute to reducing the vulnerability of Serbia to crises and disasters, through support to institutions and organizations at the national and local level, to strengthen prevention measures and increase preparedness to respond.
Source: BIZlife by www.bizlife.rs.
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