UPDATE - Greece struggles with major wildfires

UPDATE - Greece struggles with major wildfires

Country requests activation of European Civil Protection Mechanism by EU


By Ahmet Gencturk

ATHENS (AA) - Greece continued to grapple with major wildfires across the country, local media reported Monday.

Besides a wildfire that broke out on Saturday in northeastern Alexandroupolis province which has destroyed vast forest and agricultural areas, fires also erupted Monday in the northeastern regions of Kavala and Rodopi as well as on Evia Island and in the province of Boeotia, both in the central part of the country, said the state-run AMNA news agency.

In Alexandroupolis, where at least 15 settlements have been evacuated so far, 59 fire engines with 214 crew members, 11 teams of firefighters on foot, 10 firefighting aircraft and seven water-dropping helicopters are battling the blaze for a third day, despite strong winds.

Late Monday, an evacuation began at a hospital on the outskirts of Alexandroupolis as a preventive measure while one person, reportedly an immigrant, was found dead in the village of Lefkimmi.

In Boeotia, where a fire remains out of control despite the best efforts, an 80-year-old shepherd who reportedly went to save his flock was found dead.​​​​​​​

In Evia, an evacuation order was issued for at least two settlements, and boats remained on standby to take part in a possible evacuation operation.

In a related development, Greece requested that the European Civil Protection Mechanism be activated by the European Union for help, and already Romania and the Greek Cypriot administration have responded, sending 56 firefighters with 10 fire engines from Romania and two firefighting aircraft air tractors from the latter, which are expected to arrive in Greece in the evening.

The Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry also announced a set of measures including but not limited to a ban on visits to specific regions' mountains and forests and other locations prone to fires and patrols by the army in such areas.

The national fire service meanwhile warned of a very high risk of fire for Tuesday in six regions owing to the extreme heat and strong winds.

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