Disasters & Accidents

Wildfires continue to burn large swathes of Greece, Turkey

Athens/Istanbul, Aug 6 (EFE).- Firefighters in Greece and Turkey were still struggling to contain multiple wildfires on Friday, some of which have been raging for over a week.

In Greece, the first death from the ongoing wildfires was reported on Friday, after a 40-year-old volunteer suffered a skull injury during efforts to contain more than 50 fires that are active across the country, which has been suffering through a historic heatwave for the past 10 days.

According to private television station MEGA, the man was riding a motorcycle with another volunteer firefighter when they collided with a power line.

The series of blazes has ravaged thousands of hectares across Greece, caused the evacuation of dozens of towns and displaced thousands of locals and tourists.

Throughout the night hundreds of firefighters and soldiers, with the help of ground and aerial forces, have been fighting the flames in the northern part of Athens, where fires that were thought to already be under control were rekindled Thursday.

Around 2,000 refugees living in the Malakasa camp, about 40 kilometers from Athens, have been evacuated as the fire that has been raging in the area for three days continues to spread.

According to the director of the camp, Jaralambos Khristu, all of its residents — 92.2% of whom are Afghans — have been safely transferred to the camp of Ritsona, about 70 kilometers north of the Greek capital.

The situation is similar on the island of Euboea, where there has been no respite since the first fires broke out and hundreds of people had to be rescued at dawn from the beaches.

On Thursday alone there were 99 new fires that added to the 145 that firefighters were trying to put out, according to the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Nikos Jardalias. At the end of the day, 57 were still active.

In view of the magnitude of the disaster, which has come in the midst of the worst heat wave in the last four decades, Greece has appealed for outside help.

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