The Chapel of The Virgin Panayia in Evia Remains Untouched
Flames swept through a town near Athens overnight, and hundreds of people were evacuated by ferry from the island of Evia as forest fires burned down on Saturday for the fifth day in Greece.
Hundreds of people were also rescued from beaches where they were trapped by raging fires, fast approaching.
Flames rise as a forest fire burns in the village of Limni, on the island of Evia, Greece.
Yet, with devastation all around, The Chapel of The Virgin Panayia in Evia remains untouched.
In Evia, east of the capital, a fire that started on Tuesday quickly spread on several fronts, tearing thousands of hectares of virgin forest in the northern part of the island and forcing the evacuation of dozens. of villages.
More than 400 forest fires have broken out in the past 24 hours, with the largest fronts still burning in Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, and areas of the Peloponnese.
Fires rekindled in Ancient Olympia
An extensive fire front in the area of Achladini in the municipality of Ancient Olympia, northwestern Peloponnese, has rekindled and is fast-moving anew towards the area of Lalas, Ilia Region Vice-Governor Vassilis Giannopoulos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Saturday evening.
The fire at Achladini has damaged houses, he added, while traffic on the Tripolis-Pirgos national highway has been closed off from Kalliani to the 106 km.
The blaze on Mount Parnitha on the outskirts of Athens, which has forced the evacuation of thousands since Thursday evening, had subsided by Saturday afternoon. However, winds are expected to strengthen, meaning there was still a strong threat that they would erupt again.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called it a “nightmare summer”, adding that the government’s priority “has been, above all, to protect human lives”.
“Under no circumstances can we be complacent,” Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said during an emergency briefing. “We are fighting a very big battle.”
Forest fires have broken out in many parts of the country amid Greece’s worst heatwave in more than 30 years, tearing up swathes of forests, destroying homes and businesses and killing animals.
High winds pushed the blaze to the town of Thrakomakedones north of Athens on Friday evening, where it burned down houses. Residents were ordered to evacuate and there were no immediate reports of casualties.
A cloud of smoke hovers over the capital following the unrelenting blaze which left blackened houses and cars among the scorched pines.
“(It’s) really bad,” said Thanasis Kaloudis, a resident of Thrakomakedones. “All of Greece burned down.”
Mitsotakis has said that the government plans to reimburse those affected by the fires and would designate the scorched lands as reforestation areas.
Looting and theft
Residents of the northern suburbs of Athens were forced to leave in a hurry with the few belongings they can take.
“Our business, our house, all of our belongings are there. I hope they don’t burn down,” Yorgos Papaioannou, 26, said on Friday, sitting in a parking lot with his girlfriend as the ashes fell around them.
Meanwhile, however, the residents of North Attica are faced with further adversity. After being evacuated after watching their houses burn, dozens of residents are returning to the area only to find their burned houses have been looted, with thieves stealing anything of value that had been left behind.
At the same time, in Agios Stefanos, residents are also slowly returning to their homes, only to find that machinery and tools have been stolen.