Lebanon: Firefighters Were Struggling to Battle Massive Wildfires
Story Code : 822354
Heatwave together with winds has intensified the fires that hit pine forests around the country.
The authorities are yet to announce fatalities. It is not yet clear what has caused the flames.
Firefighters were overwhelmed by the flames in the Mount Lebanon region early Tuesday, forcing the Interior Ministry to send riot police with engines equipped with water cannons to help.
A firefighter has died as wildfires spread southeast of Beirut and in the north, Aljazeera reported.
Al-Jadeed news channel of Lebanon posted a video showing its reporter crying and saying that people are caught in a building surrounded by huge flames. No help appeared to come to them.
Officials say more than 100 fires broke out over the past 24 hours.
The country several years ago bought firefighting aircraft but they are out of use as economic crisis deprived them of maintenance, reports suggested.
“We have seen a fire of size we have never seen before,” a local told BBC Arabic service, adding “if you look, it looks like it is a scene from a Hollywood movie.”
The Lebanese officials have called for help from foreign countries. Cyprus has said it sent two small aircraft to help put out the flames.
In addition to Cyprus, other European countries said they are sending help to the small country. France said that it deployed firefighters and fire engines to the Arab country. Italy’s help has already arrived.