As with the majority of disasters and humanitarian crises, Israel acts as a first responder after direct request from PM Ahmed; Netanyahu deployed team on Saturday; Israeli Ambassador: Israel stands by Ethiopia in fighting the wildfire in Simien Mountain National Park.

Israel acted as a first responder to Ethiopia’s Simien Mountain fires after Prime Minister Netanyahu deployed firefighters and humanitarian aid on Saturday. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed a delegation of 11 were sent to Ethiopia on Saturday, releasing the statement, “Under the instruction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Defense, a special delegation of firefighters arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday morning to help extinguish the huge fire that has raged for two weeks in the Simien Mountains area in northern Ethiopia.”

It reported that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed directly requested Israel’s assistance over the weekend, the Office of Prime Minister Ahmed confirming Sunday, “Fire extinguishing helicopters and technical experts from different countries have arrived in Gonder city to begin the fire fighting work in Simien National Park.”

Media reports claim Ethiopia requested assistance from South Africa and Kenya before contacting Israel on Saturday. Israel’s delegation will work alongside local firefighting forces and includes a chopper. The fires at Simien National Park have been ongoing for several days as Ethiopia does not have the expertise or equipment needed, mainly a chopper, to control the fires. A reported 300 hectares of land have been burned.

Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Rafael Morav, praised Israel’s delegation, stating on Sunday “Israel stands by Ethiopia in fighting the wildfire in Simien Mountain National Park. An Israeli mission of experts in firefighting has landed this morning in Gondar to join the local forces in Simien Mountain. They will also advise on various techniques in containing fire.”

Photo: Lindsay Basson/