Forest fires in Greece: Residents of Evia are forced to evacuate


Forest fires continue to rage on the Greek island of Evia, forcing residents to flee by sea. Already more than 2,000 people have been evacuated.

Local authorities said not enough aid has been sent to fight the fires, adding that parts of the island have already been destroyed.

Greece is experiencing its worst heat wave in 30 years, with temperatures reaching 45C.

Several wildfires have broken out in the country in recent days. One of the fires in the northern suburbs of Athens has reportedly already subsided.

Heat waves like this are becoming increasingly likely and extreme due to climate change. Subsequent hot and dry weather is likely to contribute to wildfires.

On Evia, a large island north and east of Athens, two fire fronts have destroyed thousands of hectares of land as well as several homes and businesses.

Firefighters are struggling to contain the fires in a number of villages on the island.

As there are no signs that the fires are subsiding, residents and officials are calling for more help.

Giannis Kontzias, mayor of the municipality of Istia in northern Evia, told local news: “It’s too late, the neighborhood is destroyed.”

He called for water-bombing planes and helicopters to help.

But civil defense chief Nikos Hardalias said the planes encountered a number of difficulties, including poor visibility due to fires.

People have difficulty breathing because there is a lot of smoke and ash in the air.