Swiss military helicopters carry water to the Alps for animals suffering from heat and thirst

Oleksiy Yarmolenko

The Swiss authorities have engaged army aviation to deliver water to Alpine meadows. There, animals suffer from thirst due to high temperatures this summer.

Reuters writes about it.

Due to low rainfall this year, farmers have been forced to call on the army to bring water to their animals and prevent a possible drought that could lead to fodder shortages.

Over the course of two weeks, the Swiss army uses Super Puma helicopters to fill almost empty water reservoirs in the Alps, from which farmers will then draw for their farm animals.

A two-week operation is now underway using Super Puma helicopters to fill the nearly empty tanks used by farmers for their cows, whose milk is often used to make Gruyère cheese, and other animals such as pigs and goats.

"This year there was a huge shortage of water. This has a big impact on pastures, breeding and lowland agriculture," said the director of agriculture of the Swiss canton of Fribourg, Frederic Menetrey.

According to him, without such supplies, animals would have to be brought down from the high fields to graze in the lowlands. But they usually harvest hay for the winter during the summer months, and the animals will simply eat their winter food.

The commander of the Swiss Territorial Army, Mathias Tüscher, said that six helicopters had been mobilized for the operation, which will last until August 19. According to him, the helicopters can drop a total of about 400,000 tons of water into the reservoirs, and 1.5 tons will be delivered each trip. Similar operations were also carried out during the drought of 2015 and 2018.

  • This summer in Europe is experiencing record heat. More than a thousand people have already died because of it. Some regions also suffer from forest fires — in France, 27 thousand hectares of forest have already burned. Destructive heat came to Britain on July 19. Because of it, fires broke out in the suburbs of London, dozens of houses were destroyed by fire.