Netanyahu. 'We live in a global world'
Photo: Shai Vaknin

PM: It's not a shame to ask for help

During press conference at Haifa University, Netanyahu calls Carmel wildfire 'a unique event,' says foreign aid 'heartwarming'. He vows to purchase fleet of firefighting aircraft, help restore damages caused by fire 'without foot-dragging'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday evening that the Carmel wildfire, which claimed the lives of 41 people, was "a unique event."

Speaking at the Haifa University command post, Netanyahu explained that similar incidents have taken place across the world, "in the huge fires in Russia, the United States, Greece and several other countries. These fires have nothing to do with arson. Huge fires require the operation of combined forces. This requires aerial activity, as the ground forces cannot stop the fire from spreading."


The prime minister elaborated on his requests for the world's help in battling the fire, noting that "We have nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a global world. We give help and receive help." He called the foreign aid "heartwarming".


Netanyahu said the Evergreen Supertanker, a Boeing 747-200 modified into an aerial firefighting aircraft, was expected to land in Israel from the US on Saturday night, at around 1 am.


He said the contract with the company was signed within an hour after he had heard that "there was such a plane".


"We are bringing a Boeing Supertanker, the largest plane of its kind in the world, and we have been told that it can also do night flights – there is nothing like that in the world." The aircraft has a capacity of 80,000 liters of water, he added.


According to the prime minister, additional planes are expected to arrive from Switzerland, Croatia, Italy and Norway.


He went on to say that he planned to purchase a fleet of firefighting aircraft. "This is something we need in the era of global warming and fires. We must change our ability to deal with huge fires."


Netanyahu promised that Sunday's cabinet meeting at the northern city of Tirat Carmel, which will discuss ways to restore the burn forests and damaged hours, "is not just an act of solidarity but is also aimed at making it clear that we will help the people who suffered damages.


"We will cut the bureaucracy and ensure that all the sad foot-dragging we are familiar with will be reduced so that people can return to normal life as soon as possible."


The prime minister expressed his hope that the firefighters would gain control of the fire soon, saying "I believe we are on our way to contain the fire, but I don't want to jinx it."


Eyal Gabay, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, said 15,000 people had been evacuated from their homes since the fire broke out on Thursday.



פרסום ראשון: 12.04.10, 20:28
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