Israel Dispatches Firefighters to Aid Brazil in Combating Amazon Blazes

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Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 4 September, 2019

 By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 4 September, 2019

Israel has dispatched a firefighting delegation to assist Brazil in combating the mass blazes in the Amazon it has been contending with in recent weeks.

Following a conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council and the Ministry of Public Security dispatched immediate assistance to Brazil to combat the devastating fires in the country.

More than 75,000 have fires been detected across Brazil since the beginning of the year, an 83% increase on the same period last year. Many of blazes were in the Amazon rainforest.

The 11 firefighters en route to Brazil specialize in bush and forest fires. They will provide assistance and professional know-how to the Brazilian authorities and forces combatting the fire.

The Israeli embassy and the IDF Military Attaché in Brasilia are coordinating with the Brazilian authorities.

This is the second time this year Israel has dispatched aid to Brazil. An Israeli emergency aid delegation flew to the country in January to assist with the efforts to search for and rescue the victims of a dam collapse in south-east Brazil that released a flood of mud that buried people and buildings.

The Israeli team consisted of 130 IDF soldiers, doctors, and the Israeli firefighters’ special search and rescue unit.

Operating around the clock, the Israeli teams worked to locate survivors and recover the bodies of the victims.

In its statement on the rescue delegation, the Foreign Ministry noted that in the past year “Israel’s relations with Brazil were greatly strengthened” following Netanyahu’s visit to Brazil in December 2018 and Bolsonaro’s visit to Israel in April.

“The countries have close political and strategic cooperation in various fields, and many agreements have been signed in the fields of agriculture, science, health, cyber and more. These agreements contribute to Israeli exports to the largest Latin American country,” the ministry stated.

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