- The fire disaster in the Aegean continues. Thick smoke brings dangerous air to the Greek capital, Athens.
- In Greece, flames cannot be handled due to strong winds. The fight against fire continues in Turkey.
- On Saturday morning, three Super Pumas left Switzerland for Greece to help with the firefighting work.
There is still not enough clarity regarding the many major fires in Greece and Turkey. On Saturday evening, firefighters in the two countries continued to fight the flames. Time and time again, people have been asked to leave the affected areas and reach safety.
In northern Athens, fires raged for several kilometers on Saturday night and the night sky turned fiery red. Places were evacuated that evening and people were accommodated in hotels with relatives and friends.
On the island of Euboea, nearly 2,000 residents of Limni were evacuated by ferry because the land route was cut off by the fire. The Peloponnese peninsula and Crete in the far south of the country and cities like Griffina in the north are also affected by the fires that raged for several days after a prolonged period of heat and drought.
Swiss aid on the go
Switzerland responded to an international request for help from the Greek authorities and sent three Super Puma military helicopters and 40 army personnel to Athens on Saturday. You are supposed to arrive in Greece early in the evening. The first firefighting operations are scheduled to begin from Sunday.
An advance detachment had already traveled to Greece in advance in order to create conditions for the deployment of the helicopter and to ensure coordination with the authorities. This team is made up of members of the Swiss Federal Humanitarian Aid Corps, fire specialists from the Genie/Rescue/ABC Teaching Association and members of the Air Force.
Athena suffocates in dangerous weather
Due to the thick smoke, the Greek city stinks and ash falls on the third day in a row. And the authorities called on residents to “close all windows and do not go out of the house.” Fires burned all night in northern Athens. “If we do not succeed in containing the fires today, we will have a big problem,” said the deputy governor in charge of civil defense for the greater Athens region, Asilis Kokalis.
She added that because the winds receded at night and in the early morning, there was a “time window” for firefighters to control the fires in northern Athens. On the other hand, Kocalis confirmed that three suspected suspects have been arrested.
According to the Greek Civil Defense, the first international aid workers will take action on Saturday. Switzerland sent three helicopters to fight the fires, Sweden there with two pilots to fight the fires, as well as Romania with 112 firefighters and 23 vehicles. It is expected that 16 Israeli firefighters and 100 Ukrainians, along with 82 rescue workers and two firefighting planes, will come from France. 40 firefighters and two pilots from Cyprus. Germany has not yet sent any aid to the stricken area – but it is currently being checked whether a federal country can send firefighting forces to Greece.
According to German sources, Greece, Albania, Italy, North Macedonia and Turkey have requested EU support since the fires broke out.
Fires also in Sicily and Sardinia
The popular holiday island in southern Italy is also on fire. The regional government in Sicily declared a state of emergency and crisis due to forest fires. Explaining the decision, regional president Nilo Musumechi said that a fire has been raging in Sicily since the end of July, and in the coming weeks there will be a permanent danger due to the unusual weather conditions on the island.
And in Sardinia, the fire brigade in the province of Oristano reported a fire at a tourist residence on Saturday morning. According to their statements, emergency services prevented the flames from spreading to the surrounding vegetation. So there were no injuries. In Oristano on the west coast, several wildfires have recently erupted and caused extensive damage.
The Turkish coast was severely affected
Also in Turkey, where coastal areas in the south and west in particular have been hit hard for days, fires are still threatening many places. Emergency services did not come to rest in Turkey’s western city of Mugla, and according to local authorities in Köycegiz district, the first people were taken to safety on Friday evening. Once again, the firefighters had to protect the power plant from flames and remove combustible materials, the official Anadolu News Agency reported.
The situation has calmed down now in Antalya, southern Turkey. There, however, the fires wreaked havoc. Entire villages were burned to ashes. The Afad Disaster Management Authority has set up containers as emergency shelters.
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