Monday, July 30, 2007

USAID Provides Assistance to Help Fight Wildfires in Albania and Macedonia

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $100,000 to assist the Governments of Albania and Macedonia in combating recent wildfires.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Stephen Cristina declared a disaster in Albania on July 27 and U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic declared a disaster in Macedonia on July 25, both due to loss of property and livelihoods as a result of the wildfires that have swept through the respective countries.

In Albania, wildfires are active in 21 of the country's 36 districts, and the flames have destroyed 15 homes, consumed 4 fire trucks, and ravaged 4,942 acres of forest land. In addition, widespread smoke is causing health issues, particularly for women and children.

In Macedonia, heat wave-related wildfires have consumed 7,413 acres of forests in 32 municipalities, directly impacting approximately 1 million people, half of Macedonia's population. The fires have caused one death in Macedonia due to smoke inhalation and they continue to threaten vital infrastructure and lives as they approach major urban areas.

USAID will continue to monitor the situation in Albania and Macedonia and provide additional assistance as needed.

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