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S Africa sends hundreds of firefighters to Canada

By AFP
June 14, 2023

MBOMBELA, South Africa: Under a scorching sun, 200 South African firefighters wrapped up a last round of training on Tuesday before flying out to help Canada battle unprecedented forest blazes there.

It is a rare offer of aid from a developing country battling its own crises. They are a second batch of fighters flying out to the north American nation where nearly 17,800 square miles of forest have burned since the beginning of the year, well above previous averages amid climate change. The first group of more than 200 South African firefighters deployed to Canada´s province of Alberta early last week.

The deployment is in response to “an urgent request” from the Canadian forest fire agency, according to South Africa´s ministry of forest and environmental affairs. In the last month fires have erupted in almost every province across Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged: “Our resources are stretched.”