• Sunday, Dec 04, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Mass evacuations as Greek fires rage

  • Published at 03:00 pm August 7th, 2021
Greek Wildfire Evacuation
People are evacuated on a ferry as a wildfire burns in the village of Limni, on the island of Evia on August 6, 2021 Reuters

At least 1,450 Greek firefighters along with 15 aircraft were battling the infernos, with reinforcements arriving from other countries

Thousands of tourists and residents were evacuated, and a thick cloud of smoke and ash hung over Athens as "nightmarish" forest fires raged in Greece on Saturday, while heavy rains brought some relief to neighbouring Turkey.

At least 1,450 Greek firefighters along with 15 aircraft were battling the infernos, with reinforcements arriving from other countries, the fire service said.

The blazes in Greece are set to continue, with strong winds and temperatures of up to 38°C forecast in some regions on Saturday.

As of August 5, the areas burnt were 180% more than the average for the period 2008-2020, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

"When this nightmarish summer ends we will reverse the damage as soon as possible," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged on Saturday.

Greece and Turkey have been fighting devastating fires for more than a week as the region suffers its worst heatwave in decades. Officials and experts have linked such intense weather events to climate change.

A UN draft report seen by AFP labelled the Mediterranean region a "climate change hotspot," warning that heatwaves, droughts and fires would become more fierce in the future, supercharged by rising temperatures.

The fires have killed two people in Greece, including Konstantinos Michalos, the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He was found unconscious in a factory in Krioneri near Athens and was later confirmed dead in hospital.

In Turkey, eight people have been killed and dozens more hospitalised during 10 days of fires. 

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