Hundreds Flee, Homes Destroyed As Forest Fires Ravage Greek Island

This picture taken near the village of Gouves, on Euboea island, second largest Greek island, on August 8, 2021 shows a raging fire. – Hundreds of firefighters battled a blaze on the outskirts of Athens as several fires raged in Greece. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP)


Hundreds of Greek firefighters fought desperately Sunday to control wildfires on the island of Evia that have charred vast areas of pine forest, destroyed homes and forced tourists and locals to flee.

Blazes also raged in the Peloponnese region in the southwest, but fires in a northern suburb of Athens have subsided.

Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffers its worst heatwave in decades. Officials and experts have linked such intense weather events to climate change.

So far, they have killed two people in Greece and eight in neighbouring Turkey, with dozens more hospitalised.

But while rains brought some respite from the blazes in Turkey over the weekend, Greece continued to suffer amid soaring temperatures.

The rugged landscape and thick pine forests on Evia which made it appealing to tourists have turned in into a nightmare for firefighters.


A local resident walks as a wildfire rages near the village of Gouves, on Euboea island, second largest Greek island, on August 8, 2021. – Hundreds of firefighters battled a blaze on the outskirts of Athens as several fires raged in Greece. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP)


The inferno on the Greece’s second largest island, which lies east of the capital, has turned thousands of hectares into ashes and destroyed homes.

Thousands have been evacuated, and hundreds of locals and tourists have fled on ferry boats.

Some 260 Greek firefighters with 66 vehicles were battling the blazes on Evia, helped by 200 more from Ukraine and Romania with 23 vehicles and seven aircraft.

One fire service official told the Eleftheros Typos newspaper that the heat from the fires on Evia and elsewhere was so intense that “the water from the hoses and the water-dropping aircraft was evaporating” before reaching the blazes.

Flames were devouring houses in the villages of Ellinika, Vasilika and Psaropouli.

Nine people were evacuated from a beach surrounded by flames by the coastal village of Psaropouli, the ANA news agency reported on Saturday.

Ferry boats and navy war ships were on alert off the coast to evacuate people.

– ‘Living dead’ –

Local officials were critical of the efforts to control the fires, which erupted on the island on August 3.

“With what we have seen so far the fire won’t be under control any time soon. I have no more voice left to ask for more aircraft. I can’t stand this situation”, Giorgos Tsapourniotis, mayor of Mantoudi in Evia told Skai TV on Saturday.

He added that many villages were saved because young people stayed there despite the evacuation order and kept the fires away from their homes.

“40,000 people will be living dead in the next years because of the destruction in the area”, Iraklis, a man from Istiaia town in northern Evia told Open TV on Sunday, as people’s homes and livelihoods were wiped out.

Greek deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias said late Saturday that provisional shelter was provided to 2,000 people who have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, in the Peloponnese region in the southwest, fire fronts in the towns of East Mani, Ilia and in Messinia remained active with many villages and settlements evacuated.

READ ALSO: Floods In Sudan Damage Thousands Of Homes

In a northern suburb of Athens, where blazes have raged for several days, there was no longer any active front though firefighters were tackling flare-ups.

In the previous 10 days, 56,655 hectares (140,000 acres) have been burnt in Greece, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. The average number of hectares burnt over the same period between 2008 and 2020 was 1,700 hectares.

Because of this situation deemed the worst in decades, Greece requested help through the European emergency support system, and reinforcement were sent from several countries.


Anthonia Orji

Disqus Comments Loading...
Published by
Anthonia Orji
Tags: fire Greek island

Recent Posts

  • Headlines

BREAKING: Court Orders Shell To Pay Ogoni People N45.9bn Fine In 21 Days

  A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has order Shell Petroleum Company to pay the sum of N45.9 billion…

49 mins ago
  • Headlines

FG To Lift Twitter Suspension In A Matter Of Days, Says Lai Mohammed

  The Federal Government has said it will lift its ban on Twitter, in a matter of days. Minister of…

2 hours ago
  • Business

World Bank Names Nigeria Among Nations With High Debt Risk

The World Bank has listed Nigeria and nine other countries as nations with high-debt risk exposure. 

2 hours ago
  • Crime Watch

Gunmen Kidnap Former Councillor’s Wife, Baby In Zamfara

Gunmen have kidnapped the wife of a former councillor Hassana Saudaki and her eight-month-old baby in Zamfara State.

3 hours ago
  • World News

US Senate Approves $3.5 Trillion Budget Blueprint

  The US Senate early Wednesday approved a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would greatly expand social spending with major…

3 hours ago
  • Africa

Kenya Tells Civil Servants To Get COVID-19 Shots Or Risk Disciplinary Action

  Kenyan civil servants have until late August to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk disciplinary action, according to a…

3 hours ago