Dingell Sends Letter to Secretary of State Urging U.S. Assistance to Combat Fires in Lebanon
Washington, October 16, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mike Green urging full assistance from the US government to combat the devastating wildfires in Lebanon.
“The fires have caused irreparable damage to Lebanon’s nature as well as its residents, including American citizens who reside in Lebanon,” said Dingell. “When your friend’s house is on fire you don’t ask what caused the fire. Instead you do all you can to help. That is the current situation we’re facing.”
Beginning late Monday night, the forest fires in Lebanon drifted over the outskirts of Beirut, the mountainous Chouf region, and the southern city of Saida. Neighboring countries of Cyprus and Greece have already offered assistance to Lebanon to combat the fires.
The letter urges the U.S. government to assist the Lebanese government in efforts to address the wildfires across Lebanon. You can read the full letter here and below.
Dear Secretary Pompeo and Administrator Green:
This letter is in regards to an issue of urgent concern in Lebanon with the spreading of forest fires in the country which is endangering their national security and natural resources. The wildfires started in Lebanon’s western mountains and have reached regions south of Beirut. The destruction is causing irreparable damage to Lebanon’s nature and assets, as well threatening the well-being of its residents, including American citizens who reside in Lebanon. Lebanon is famous for its natural attractions and the damage caused by the wildfires will have an impact for years to come. The first human casualty was a volunteer firefighter in Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve. Many residents are being forced to flee their homes, while others are unable to flee.
The people of Lebanon and the people of the United States share strong bonds and, their security relationship with the United States is critical. These bonds are strong because we share the same values – an emphasis on peace, tolerance, and building a better future for our children.
As a Member of Congress with a large Lebanese-American constituency, this letter is to request you take urgent action to address this situation and that any assistance, resources and aid available be provided to the fullest extent possible. I would ask that you keep me appraised of actions the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development is taking to address this serious situation. Your attention to these concerns are critical and I standby ready to assist you in any way.
Member of Congress
CC: The Honorable Elliot Engel, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs