News ID: 115176
Publish Date : 19 May 2023 - 22:58

Lebanon Launches Strategy to Control Forest Fires

BEIRUT (Arab News) – Lebanon’s
Environment Ministry is seeking to reduce the risk of recurrent forest fires and their severity through an updated national strategy.
Nasser Yassin, caretaker minister of environment, said that work was being carried out “under financially, administratively, and politically unfavorable conditions” to reduce the risk of forests and woodlands catching on fire.
Yassin pointed out that the success of the strategy, however, is based on the cooperation of “local people who are proud of their areas, environment, and the health of their sons and daughters.”
The awareness-raising work, he said, has brought “people closer to their environment.”
He referred to “the launch of an emergency fund to support firefighting efforts,” and said: “We are working on developing its law and management methods with the World Bank.”
Yassin added: “There is also a project worth $4.5 million, a gift from the Global Environment Facility, to support the efforts of local communities and regional groups to enhance their readiness and preparedness to reduce the risks of fires and extinguish them.”
Melanie Hauenstein, resident representative of the UN Development Program in Lebanon, said: “Forest fires are not only an environmental concern, but their impact is also noticeable in many other sectors.”
Hauenstein added: “The UN program has equipped dedicated operations rooms in the Lebanese provinces with the necessary tools and supplies to ensure their proper functioning in the event of forest fires and other crises. We have supported the establishment of specially trained first responder teams to deal with forest fires and equipped them with the necessary tools and equipment.”
Forest fires have not spared any Lebanese region from damage to pine and fruit trees, including the regions of North Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, and South Lebanon.
The environment ministry proposed to the previous parliament the establishment of a strategy to manage the resources resulting from the quarry and crusher sector and a new legislative framework for it, but it was never implemented.
According to the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon, approximately 14,460 forest fires have been recorded in the past five years, resulting in the loss of thousands of hectares of forest cover in Lebanon.