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Head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, announced today that three new mountain response bases will be created following the purchase, through the 'Vision 2020' project, of six light helicopters, three of which were handed over today.

"The aircraft is intended to equip three new mountain response bases - one in the Caransebes - Caras area, one in the area of Brasov - Sibiu and one in the area of Suceava," Arafat said at the helicopters' handover event.

The 'Vision 2020' program also provides for the procurement of medium-/heavy-lift helicopters to replace those that "can no longer cope" due to old age; the tender procedure is in an advanced stage, Arafat added.

"There is yet another component that we have recently added with the support of the Ministry of European Funds, specifically the acquisition of two patient transport planes, each with a capacity of three patients; the tender for these aircraft will start now," the head of the Emergency Department said.

According to Arafat, the 'Vision 2020' program also has an ongoing land component. "The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU) is acquiring all the necessary equipment for various types of interventions, search and rescue equipment in case of earthquake, there are the ladder trucks that just arrived, absolutely all the additions to the assets of the Inspectorate, but perhaps the most important tender is now underway for 500 fire engines, which I hope we'll be able to buy as soon as possible," explained Raed Arafat.

He added that there is also an ongoing tender for a multi-role ship for the Black Sea and three ships that will operate on the Danube and the Danube Delta.

Present at the event, French ambassador in Bucharest Laurence Auer said that the acquired Airbus light helicopters are state-of-the-art and emphasized the importance of Romania - France cooperation in the field of civil protection and rescue.

In his turn, the German ambassador in Bucharest Cord Meier-Klodt said that this project will strengthen Romania's response capacity in case of emergency, especially its air rescue capability.

The Secretary of State with the Ministry of European Investments and Projects Marius Mihai Vasiliu mentioned that other projects with EU funding are unfolding, apart from 'Vision 2020'.

"As part of the emergency response axis, we have another three projects in progress worth a total of about 100 million euros, and a project under evaluation of about 30 million, this is about air ambulances. Under the Large-scale Infrastructure Operational Program, we have another eight projects under joint evaluation with IGSU, for the Covid response area, these are worth about 120 million euros," the Secretary of State informed. AGERPRES (RO - author: Iulia Carciog, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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