The Troodos Mountain fire has appeared to unearth deficiencies in the TRNC’s Forestry Department.
Director of the Forestry Department Cemil Karzaoglu has said that although the department’s vehicles were ready, there was no personnel trained to deal with a fire emergency, and no one who could drive the fire engines.
Karzaoglu further said that they could not even rent the helicopters, which were supposed to offer services during the period June 15 – October 15. He added that in 2010, 16 surveillance cameras were bought for 950,000 euro in order to monitor the area from Lefke up to the Karpaz Cape, however they shut down the system because no personnel was familiar with this technology.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi, the Minister of Tourism and Environment Fikri Ataoglu announced that a firefighting plane or a helicopter would soon be deployed from Turkey to the TRNC. He added that at this moment, there were two helicopters and one plane at three locations in Turkey, which could act immediately in case of fire in the TRNC.
Meanwhile, according to Bayrak television (online), President Akinci called for a high level meeting on the subject of firefighting, on Friday morning.
Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, deputy PM and finance minister Serdar Denktaş, respective ministers, the commander of the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces Major General Erhan Uzun and officials from the relevant institutions or government departments attended the meeting.
Preparations for possible fire hazards, lowering the risk of fire to the minimum, particularly in forest areas, were discussed.
Establishing coordination with the aim of responding to possible fires immediately and effectively was also expected to be evaluated in detail and finalised during the meeting.
Yeni Duzen, Halkin Sesi, BRT