The fire continues uncontrollable in Greece, where forest fires have already devoured more than 70 thousand hectares and the flames divided in two the island of Euboea, the second most important in the country. “We are in the hands of God. The state is absent. If the people leave, the towns will surely burn,” said desperate Yannis Selimis, a resident of Gouves, in northern Euboea, whose last inhabitants had to be evacuated from emergency.

Selimis, 26, told the AFP news agency that “in the next 40 years we will not have work and in winter we will drown under water, without forests to protect us.” The last inhabitants of Gouves were transferred to the beach of Pefki, where several hundred meters away, a military ship waits patiently off the coast, to embark these inhabitants.

“We tried to stay at home until the last moment, but half of our land was burned,” laments Eli Kouveli. This woman in her fifties had to give in and resign herself on Wednesday to leaving her home in the face of danger.

Located in the Aegean Sea and about 200 kilometers east of Athens, the situation on the island is dramatic. Euboea woke up in a thick cloud of smoke and a shower of ash. The town of Ellinika is currently surrounded by flames, while firefighters and the few neighbors who did not accept the order to leave their homes try to save what they can.

According to the site, locals and tourists gathered on Agios Nikolaos beach waiting to be evacuated by sea, according to the ANSA agency. “They burned our paradise,” angrily exclaimed Tryantafilos Konstandinos, 46, to the authorities, adding: “We are finished.”

The last fighters who had resisted, had to leave, reach the beach and get to safety. “Euboea, it’s over,” says Cleopatra Plapouta. “The people are fighting alone. Not a single firefighter in the villages,” he insists, with his handkerchief and mask on his face. Her husband said: “We have been on fire for a week” and explained that “the fire started 60 kilometers from here. 60 kilometers!”

“They abandoned us, they lied to us. This is the first day that planes arrive,” Maria Mousxogianni also said angrily. His hotel is facing the sea but currently does not host tourists, only two families who had to leave their homes.

Meanwhile, flames reached the small town of Vasilika and a 6-kilometer fire front burned a vast pine forest, approaching the town of Gouves. Firefighters are trying to stop fires in several places to prevent other houses from being destroyed after 200 families were left homeless.

But the fire is also spreading on the mainland, in the Peloponnese, at the gates of Athens. It is that both Greece and Turkey suffer the worst heat wave in decades, and have been fighting the fires for almost two weeks. According to AFP, the fire consumed 70,059 hectares in Greece and caused two deaths. Experts linked the high temperatures to climate change.

Interviewed by Skai TV, the governor of central Greece, Fanis Spanos, said that more than 2,500 people are staying in hotels and other facilities. In turn, the mayor of Istiaia, Ioannis Kontizias, denounced the absence of firefighting aircraft on the Euboea front. “We are alone, I have been asking for planes for five days,” he protested.

Some 260 Greek firefighters, assisted by a hundred vehicles and backed by more than 200 colleagues from Ukraine and Romania, were deployed to the north of the island on Sunday morning and supported by seven planes and helicopters, firefighters reported. The flames were also approaching the houses of the villages of Ellinka, and Psaropouli, after having destroyed hundreds of houses in the region.

Meanwhile, a plane crashed today while conducting firefighting operations on the Greek island of Zante, reported firefighters, who specified that its pilot was safe and sound. The apparatus was carrying out an operation to extinguish a small fire on this Ionian island, when it crashed for a reason still unknown, according to the same source.


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