The flames are spreading out of control on the island of Euboea as they take a breather on the outskirts of Athens, in the Peloponnese and neighboring Turkey.
The voracious fires that have been punishing Greece for almost two weeks this Sunday unleashed all their fury on the island of Euboea, the second largest in the country. While thousands of desperate inhabitants watched as the fire devoured their villages, their houses and their livelihoods, others fled along roads dotted by burning trees or were evacuated under a sky dyed red. The human drama of a tragedy that had not been remembered in decades was multiplied when the authorities reported a second deceased and raised the number of injured to 20.
After on Friday he had to mourn the death of a 38-year-old volunteer firefighter on the outskirts of the capital after a power pole fell, local media echoed yesterday the death of Konstantinos Michalos, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Athens. The 61-year-old man was found unconscious by his wife inside a factory in Kryoneri where a large fire was taking place and the evacuation order had been given, according to the newspaper ‘Ekathimerini’. His death was confirmed at the hospital. Apparently because of a heart attack.
Although the fire that destroyed dozens of houses at the gates of Athens had lost intensity and the situation in the Peloponnese peninsula seemed stabilized, the anguish could not be greater in Euboea. “I no longer have a voice to demand more air resources,” the mayor of the Mantoudi municipality, Giorgos Tsapourniotis, told Skai TV. “After what we have seen, it does not seem that we are close to controlling the flames,” he acknowledged.
Hell from east to west
Half a thousand firefighters were waging a titanic battle on the island, where hundreds of residents sprayed their land with water and poor visibility conditions made it difficult for the aerial resources to work. Despite the efforts, the flames continued to consume the wooded areas and everything in their path. Northern Euboea burned from east to west and the fire front alone spanned about 30 kilometers, estimated the region’s governor, Fanis Spanos. “In the next 40 years we will not have work and in winter we will drown under the waters, without forests to protect us”, said in despair Yannis Selimis, a resident of Gouves.
About 350 people had to be evacuated by boat this Sunday from the island. With them, they amount to 2,000 people rehoused in hotels on the continent after the flames surrounded the towns of Galatsona, Ellinika and Agriovotano and new withdrawal orders were issued in the towns of Gouves, Artemisio, Kastri, Vouliki and Pefki.
In Turkey, where eight people have died from the fires, the situation was similar to that of Athens and the Peloponnese thanks to the latest rains. Most of the fires were controlled and the work of the firefighters focused on extinguishing the flames in the Mugla region.