A note from the Forestry department sent to the Council of Ministers but either ignored or not received by the Council, reveals why there were deficits in preparation for handling the recent fire which spread from Arakapas Limassol to Larnaca.
The note was to be given to the Minister of Agriculture and had its target as the improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of the Forestry department in the area of combatting forest fires.
The note further warned that every year and especially during the summer there is danger of fires breaking out, while also mentioning the possibility for the loss of human life which came true as four people ended up dying in the fire.
Additionally, the note referred to the old equipment and staff shortage of the Forestry department, which were problems also addressed in the department’s medium-term budgetary framework of 2019-21.
Specific requests made by the department in the note included purchasing protection equipment for fire-fighting staff, creation of a rapid response team and reinstating forestry work positions which were abolished in 2012-15.