Caretaker Minister of Environment, Nasser Yassin, launched today the National Campaign for Forest Fire Prevention 2023 and the National Fire Prevention Week between June 5 and 12, from the Tannourine Cedar Forest Nature Reserve. This was organized by the Association of Reforestation in Lebanon, in the presence of Tourism Minister’s representative, Imad Farhat, Environment Parliamentary Committee Chair, MP Ghiath Yazbek, World Food Program Director, Abdallah Al-Wardat, and various prominent dignitaries from the region. In his address during the launching event, Minister Yassin outlined the goals of the National Campaign for the Prevention of Forest Fires 2023 and the National Week for Fire Prevention. He said: ‘Today we come to a reserve that is one of the richest reserves located not only in Lebanon but also in the East, a natural and cultural heritage and biological diversity that deserves to be highlighted, alongside the launching of reserves and protected areas in Lebanon.” He added that launching the campaign from this reserve is of great significance due to its biological, cultural, civilizational and natural importance. “We, at the Ministry of Environment, are continuing with a small budget and an unfavorable administrative and political situation, but we do not want to give up…Rather we seek to stand firm in the face of challenges,” pledged Yassin. He explained that the Ministry is embracing the local community, standing beside the people and supporting local initiatives, aiming to preserve the country’s natural reserves and protected areas. “In the past year, we were able to reduce the burned areas by 90.1%, and this is not a small percentage…We will maintain it with all our strength in light of the local embrace in every region. We strive to stand by the local community to avoid fires,” Yassin went on. He added: “We sought to stand by the local community to avoid fires…Just as the Tannourine Cedar Reserve Committee and the Tannourine volunteers worked to put out the fire that broke out last year, we must encourage them and institutionalize this work by supporting the teams to be ready to prevent fires and quickly intervene in the event of their occurrence.” Yassin indicated that in cooperation with international organizations, donor agencies, and the World Bank, and with the support of the private sector to stand by the reserve committee, the local community, and volunteers in Tannourine, local teams will be established to be equipped with light machinery and supplies to combat any fires that break out in the future. “We have to support the plan drawn up by the Reserve Committee by spreading the idea of the Tannourine Reserve Committee with its environmental, social, and economic objectives,” the Minister asserted.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon