SNF to donate 25 million euros to fire brigade

In the wake of the devastating wildfires in eastern Attica, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) on Monday announced its decision to donate a grant of 25 million euros to the Greek fire brigade to “assist in the difficult task of the men and women of the fire brigade, on the front lines for the protection of the country’s residents and natural resources.”

SNF said that the grant will be given primarily for the maintenance and purchase of equipment, as well as on training of fire brigade personnel, in order to contribute to fire prevention and response in emergencies.

The foundation noted that it has supported the fire service with more than 19 million euros over the last 20 years, including through the donation of a Super Puma helicopter, the purchase of 15 fire engines for the fire brigade, supply of equipment to volunteer fire-fighting groups on the islands of Kefallonia and Samos and by bankrolling the construction of a training centre for the EMAK special disaster response units or the training of firemen on fighting forest fires in Canada.

“The national tragedy that violently swept away so many human lives and households demands that we all look at how together, as a society, we can help these wounds heal and, perhaps more importantly, how we can prepare so that we do not relive these tragic moments in the future,” SNF said.

The foundation also released details regarding the background of its decision to make the donation, noting that main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis had contacted the SNF and proposed that it undertake the repair and maintenance of the fire brigade’s aerial resources for a period of five years.

SNF co-President Andreas Dracopoulos had agreed in principle and suggested that Mitsotakis discuss the idea with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, saying that the SNF would willingly help if they agreed that the specific action was a priority for the Greek state.

There following a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday, when the needs and priorities of the state in fire fighting, prevention and restoring fire-stricken areas were discussed in detail and the two sides agreed that the SNF must work mainly with the fire brigade and citizen protection ministry to pinpoint exactly how it can best help in their work.