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Greece fires – live: Hundreds rescued by boat as flames reach shore of island as death toll rises to two

Latest updates as wildfires rage for fifth day

Leonie Chao-Fong,Emily Goddard
Saturday 07 August 2021 17:14 BST

Hundreds rescued by boat from Greek island as flames reach shore

Two people have died in Greece and eight killed in Turkey amid extreme wildfires, fanned by unpredictable winds and soaring temperatures – described as the worst in southern Europe in decades.

A volunteer firefighter has died after being struck by a falling electricity pole in an area north of Athens affected by the fire, officials said on Friday.

Flames swept through a residential town outside the Greek capital overnight as wildfires burned across the country for a fifth day, while hundreds of people were evacuated by ferry from the island of Evia.

More than 700 firefighters, including reinforcements from Cyprus, France and Israel, have been deployed to fight the blaze north of Athens, assisted by the army and water-bombing aircraft.

In neighbouring Turkey, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated after flames swept through the country’s southwestern coastal regions.


Two people killed as wildfires spread across Greece

A 38-year-old volunteer firefighter has died after being struck in the head by a falling electricity pylon in the north of the Greek capital of Athens, officials have confirmed.

A second man, named as Konstantinos Michalos, the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was found unconscious in a factory in Krioneri and was later confirmed dead in hospital.

A further 20 people have been injured.

Leonie Chao-Fong7 August 2021 11:19

Thousands evacuated after blaze sweeps through Athens suburbs

Thousands of people fled to safety from a wildfire that swept through a residential town outside Athens overnight, amid the worst heatwave in the country for decades.

Emergency crews have been struggling to battle the fire on Mount Parnitha on the outskirts of Athens since late on Thursday.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of more suburbs north of Athens, Evia and areas in the Peloponnese including Mani, Messinia and ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.

Leonie Chao-Fong7 August 2021 11:32

Wildfire engulfs power plant in southwestern Turkey, prompting further evacuations

Wildfire engulfs power plant in southwestern Turkey, prompting further evacuations
Leonie Chao-Fong7 August 2021 11:54

More villages evacuated on Evia as island continues to burn

Fires on Evia, Greece’s second-biggest island, continued their destructive path overnight on Friday and into Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people, including many elderly residents, were evacuated by sea late on Friday from the town of Limni on the northwestern part of the island.

Coastguard Sotiris Danikas told broadcaster ERT: “We’re talking about the apocalypse, I don’t know how to describe it.”

Leonie Chao-Fong7 August 2021 12:13

A helicopter drops water on a fire near Malakasa in northern Athens

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 12:25

Over 90 active wildfires endanger villages in Russia’s Siberia

As blazes continue in Greece, Russia’s Siberia is still battling its own wildfires.

Several villages in the vast region are endangered and authorities have evacuated residents from some areas.

In northeastern Siberia, 93 active forest fires are burning across 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) of Sakha-Yakutia, officials said, making it the worst affected region of Russia.

A fire engulfed dozens of houses in the village of Byas-Kuel, and all village residents were evacuated, according to the local task force dealing with the emergency.

Fires also burned close to the villages of Kytyl-Dyura, Sinsk, Yedyai and several other settlements. High winds exacerbated the danger of flames spreading quickly.

In the village of Sangary, emergency teams were taking urgent steps to protect a threatened fuel supply facility.

In recent years, Russia has recorded high temperatures that many scientists regard as a result of climate change. The hot weather coupled with the neglect of fire safety rules has caused a growing number of fires.

Experts also blame the worsening situation with fires on a 2007 decision to disband a federal aviation network tasked to spot and combat fires and turn its assets to regional authorities. The much-criticized move led to the force's rapid decline.

The forests that cover huge areas of Russia make spotting new fires a challenge.

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 12:35

Russian military attempts to extinguish forest fires

A Russian military engineer extinguishes forest fires in the Sakha Republic also known as Yakutia, far eastern Russia

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 12:48

Among the nations to have sent firefighters and aircraft to join the effort to battle the inferno in Greece are France, Ukraine, Cyprus, Croatia, Sweden and Israel. More are expected to arrive today from Romania and Switzerland, while Egypt said it would send two helicopters. Some 36 Czech firefighters with 15 vehicles are expected to arrive early on Monday.

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 13:05

Smoke clouds seen in neighbouring areas

People are sharing footage and images of smoke clouds seen in areas near Evia.

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 13:19

Greek PM visits Athens fire department HQ

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the fire department’s headquarters in Athens this morning and expressed his “deep sadness for what has happened”.

He said that securing aid for everyone affected by the wildfires would be his “first political priority”. He also promised that all burnt areas would be declared reforestation zones.

“With great effort, and I believe with the participation of society, when this nightmarish summer has passed, we will turn all our attention to repairing the damage as fast as possible, and in restoring our natural environment again,” Mitsotakis said.

Emily Goddard7 August 2021 13:50

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