Teenager dies in Lebanon wildfires

A teenager was killed as he joined volunteers battling forest fires in northern Lebanon, where firefighters were struggling Thursday to protect homes from the blaze.

The 15-year-old was one of several residents of the Qubayyat area in Lebanon’s remote Akkar region “who rushed to the scene to help douse the flames,” Lebanese civil defense said.

The youngster died on Wednesday, hours after the fire started spreading.

The state sent helicopters but struggled to contain the fire, which was still raging on Thursday.

According to the Lebanese Red Cross, another eight people were hospitalized as a result of the fire, which forced several inhabitants to evacuate their homes.

“The situation on the ground is frightening,” Agriculture Minister Abbas Mortada told AFP. “The fire is huge, it has destroyed vast forested areas and is now threatening homes.”

Lebanon’s National News Agency said Cyprus was keeping firefighting aircraft on standby.

In October 2019, Lebanese authorities struggled to contain devastating wildfires, in what was seen as evidence of the state’s incompetence and was one of the triggers of an unprecedented, nationwide protest movement.

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