Greece continued to battle major wildfires this weekend, with the flames coming dangerously close to the capital, Athens, and cutting the country’s second-largest island, Evia, in half, leaving the sea as the only escape route.

Dramatic drone footage of Evia from RT’s Ruptly video agency shows vast tracts of forest still engulfed in flames or burned to the ground. The blazes were so huge, they separated the two halves of the Aegean island, which has a population of 200,000.

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Firefighters working throughout the night to save Istiaia, a town of some 7,000 in the north of Evia, and several nearby villages. They used bulldozers to open clear paths in the thick woods to act as a firebreak.

Six aircraft, four helicopters, 475 firefighters and 35 ground teams have been deployed on the island, with firefighters from Romania and Ukraine aiding their Greek counterparts. The military also sent 84 special forces troops to assist in tackling the blaze.

Some 1,400 people were taken off the island by boat on Friday, after the approaching wall of fire left them with no other means of escape.

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A flotilla of 10 vessels, including coastguard ships, ferries, and fishing boats, has now been assembled in case a second evacuation of residents is required, the coastguard told the AP news agency.

On the mainland, the wildfires, pushed by strong winds, have reached the suburbs of Athens, and a huge plume of black smoke hangs over the city. A special hotline has been set up in the city to offer advice to people suffering breathing problems.

The evacuation of residents was ordered in the nearby town of Thrakomakedones on Saturday, with video footage showing burnt homes and cars.

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Fires also raged on the southern Peloponnese peninsula, near Ancient Olympia, and in Fokida, in the center of the country.

Numerous wildfires took hold across Greece at the beginning of the week, as it endured its worst heatwave in decades, with temperatures reaching 45C (113F).

The fires spurred large-scale evacuations, burnt forest land, and destroyed farms and homes. One volunteer firefighter died on Friday, and 20 people have required hospitalization.

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country was experiencing a “nightmarish summer.” He said providing aid to those affected by the disaster was his “first political priority” and promised that the affected areas would be restored.

The situation with wildfires also remains difficult in neighboring Turkey. Its southwestern coastal regions were badly burned and eight people lost their lives.

RT. com / ABC Flash Point Climate Change News 2021.

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Dimitris Alexiou
Dimitris Alexiou
Guest
09-08-21 23:08

Greek here: This disaster is a result of austerity measures, affecting fire department. Most fire-fighting airplanes are too old (over 50 y.o.!) and spend most of the time in service, f/f personnel is less and less every year and forest department f/f brigades were abolished 20 years ago!

The Mitsotakis government spent 20.000.000 euros in TV campaigns, so broadcasters treat his government positively, hired thousands of policemen, bought hundreds of police cars, but no fire-fighting equipment!

EconAustria
EconAustria
Guest
Reply to  Dimitris Alexiou
09-08-21 23:09

Greece was bailed out at 130% debt/GDP and spent like there is no tomorrow debt reached 238%/GDP as we speak, there is no austerity.

APB
APB
Guest
Reply to  Dimitris Alexiou
09-08-21 23:15

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Roc3058
Roc3058
Guest
09-08-21 23:10

Four Pakistanis have been arrested in Pyrgos, they said someone paid them e500 each to light fires and an Afghan woman arrested in central Athens for attempting to light fires. Multiple devices have been found in suburbs as well.

Guldar Tate
Guldar Tate
Guest
09-08-21 23:12

Turkish “Grey Wolves” again? They claimed responsibility before. Keep in mind that this comes shortly after fires in Turkey were intentionally set and Greece and Turkey are not friends at all to say the least.

APB
APB
Guest
09-08-21 23:18

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