Greece wildfires continue, PM apologizes
ATHENS: Hundreds of firefighters were battling to control two massive wildfires in Greece on Wednesday, one raging for nine straight days, that have left hundreds homeless and caused incalculable damage.
With the assistance of a huge multinational force, Greek fire crews were fighting to beat back blazes on the island of Evia and in the Peloponnese peninsula in rugged terrain.
Christos Lambropoulos, deputy governor for the broader Arcadia region, said efforts were concentrated on keeping the fire from reaching the thickly forested Mount Mainalo.
By Tuesday morning, the fire that has destroyed homes and businesses and led to dozens of villages being evacuated was still active, albeit on a smaller scale, burning close to some villages.
Several other wildfires were burning in the country, with the most significant in the southern Peloponnese region.
Three people have died in the latest fire wave, which came in the midst of Greece’s most severe heatwave in decades.
EU states and other countries have so far contributed 21 aircraft, 250 vehicles and more than 1,200 firefighters, some of whom were due to arrive by Friday.
There have been growing calls in Greece for the resignation of top public safety officials who as recently as June had insisted that the country was well-prepared.
Greece’s prime minister has apologized for any “weaknesses” in efforts to quell wildfires that continue to rage on one of the country’s islands.
In a televised nationwide address Monday night, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said 586 wildfires had broken out across the country in the space of just a few days.
“These last few days have been among the hardest for our country in decades,” Mitsotakis said. “We are dealing with a natural disaster of unprecedented dimensions.”
He also apologized for “any weaknesses” in the efforts to fight the fires, with his government facing criticism that organisation and equipment were inadequate.
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