The Malta Independent 16 April 2024, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: Solidarity and support

Monday, 18 September 2023, 10:43 Last update: about 8 months ago

This editorial was written prior to the news that Joseph Zammit, a firefighter, had died after developing health issues soon after a waste fire was extinguished in Pembroke on Sunday evening. Zammit, aged 48, was a father of two. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family over his tragic passing.

Civil Protection Department and AFM officers are in Libya assisting local officials in conducting rescues, after the collapse of two dams caused devastating floods.

Over the past year, Malta had sent other teams abroad, for instance having sent Civil Protection Department officers to Greece to help put out the fires that had spread earlier this summer, and Turkey to assist in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. They were joined by rescuers from other countries as well.


These officers undergo special training for a number of scenarios.

When in Malta, they help keep us safe by being the first to go into dangerous situations to try and ensure that, for instance, fires are contained and put out as quickly as possible.

The only way to describe these officers is to call them heroes. Heroes who we all owe our thanks for the courageous efforts they make.

While on the ground in Turkey following the earthquake, Maltese rescuers had to deal with aftershocks, performing rescues in unsafe buildings at risk of collapse. Those who went to Greece and Libya face their own challenges. They put their lives on the line to help others. It is no easy task and takes bravery.

But it can also take a toll. It was reported last week that Civil Protection officers together with the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM), during the intensive searches carried out in Libya recovered over 80 dead bodies both from land and sea. That must not have been an easy moment for anyone on the team, seeing such tragedy. One must ensure that they have all the support they need should they need it to deal with such trauma.

The Mediterranean countries have faced mass tragedies this year.

It must be said that the solidarity that nations are showing, by sending rescue workers and other forms of support, shows just how important it is that countries cooperate. For example, after the earthquake in Turkey, many countries sent over rescuers to assist in the search for survivors.

Following the request for international assistance by the Permanent Mission of the State of Libya to the United Nations office in Geneva, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated to support Libya in the aftermath of the major flood that has left thousands of casualties. The EU had immediately released an initial €500,000 in humanitarian funding to tackle the most urgent needs of people in Libya affected by the impact of Storm Daniel, while member states provided other support.

This is the kind of solidarity we should have between nations, coming to each other's aid when in need.

And to those Maltese rescuers currently abroad going above and beyond, keep safe and thankyou for your stellar service.


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