September 23, 2021

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Fire: Greece is still burning, Turkey helped by rain

Violent fires continue this Saturday to burn thousands of hectares of forests and homes in Greece. According to the Greek Prime Minister, this is a new record in areas burned on the 11th day of this “terrible summer” when the situation in neighboring Turkey appeared to be stable.

On both sides of the Aegean Sea, thousands of people and tourists have been evacuated in recent days, by sea, in the face of scorching flames. Eight people have died and dozens have been hospitalized in 200 fires that have engulfed southern Turkey for a week. Two deaths are to be condemned Greece, And about twenty people were injured, and two volunteer firefighters were hospitalized in critical condition.

As mercury oscillates between 40 and 45 degrees, Greece and Turkey face exceptional heat waves, which experts no doubt associate with climate change.

If the situation appears to be improving due to the impact of rain on the Turkish coast, there have been 13 fires active this Saturday in the last 200 days, with fires spreading in Greece and the wind still fueling many places.

According to the European Forest Fire Information System, which is supported by the European Union, a recent fire in Greece has destroyed an area of ​​30,000 hectares.

“Nightmare Summer”

At least 1,450 Greek firefighters, with the help of reinforcements from other countries, continued their fierce battle against the five major fires on the island of Evia, 200 km east of Athens, and three fires on the Peloponnese Peninsula in the west. According to firefighters. Greek authorities counted 154 fires, 64 of which were still active Friday evening.

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“Once this terrible summer is over, we will repair all the damage as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Griagos Mitsodakis told the Athens Fire Department on Saturday morning.

In the north of Athens, the violent catastrophe progressed vigorously to the east and the capital’s largest water reserve, Lake Marathon, was responsible for the evacuation of a dozen places. Its thick smoke and pungent odor spread through the capital overnight as strong winds were forecast throughout the day.

On the island of Evia, more than 1,300 people were evacuated by boat overnight from the coastal village of Limni, surrounded by fire. More than two dozen people were evacuated Saturday morning from Rovis beach on this vast island in the east of the country, according to Greek media.

Evictions in the village of Limny on the Greek island of Evia.  Selectors / Nicholas Economo
Evictions in the village of Limny on the Greek island of Evia. Selectors / Nicholas Economo Nicholas Economics

Local authorities have called for more air support to effectively deal with the violent Evia fire that worsened on Saturday. Hundreds of hectares were burned on the Beloponnese Peninsula, east of the Olympic archeological site and in the Mani and Messinia areas.

“The fire burned more than 15 villages” east of Mary, according to Mayor Eleni Dragoloko, who condemned the lack of airways on ERT TV. “We got lost when a helicopter fixed it in two hours.”

Temporary rainfall in Turkey

More than 5,000 residents and tourists were forced to flee the disaster, which burned 50% of the mountain and the tourist area. As of August 5, burns in Greece have already surpassed the average of 180% by 2008-2020, according to data from the European Forest Fire Information Agency. Established on more than 15,000 destroyed hectares, not counting estimates for August 5 and 6, according to the daily Kathymerini.

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At this point in 2021, the fire has destroyed more forests and pine forests than the three overall years from 2017 to 2020, former head of the Greek Fire Service Andrianos Gourpatzis told the Ethnos website on Saturday.

The Prime Minister has promised rapid deforestation. “Priority will be given to reforestation of the burnt areas,” he told reporters. An initial UN report, AFP Access, qualifies the Mediterranean region as a “hot spot for climate change.”

The provincial rains in southwestern Turkey helped improve the situation in the Antalya region. The fire is now under control, including in Manavkat, following heavy rains on Saturday, according to local officials. However, Turkish firefighters continued their efforts in the Mugla area, where three neighborhoods were evacuated, the municipality said.