A massive forest fire has broken out in southern Cyprus, forcing dozens of villages to evacuate. The Cypriot authorities have requested international assistance to fight the fire.
The fire started Monday in Arakapas, north of the coastal city of Limassol, and was ignited by heat and strong winds. So far there have been no casualties, but several houses were destroyed. More than twenty fire engines, six helicopters and four aircraft have been deployed. Many British soldiers stationed in Cyprus were also mobilized. Several villages in the neighboring Larnaca district were evacuated as a precaution.
The Cypriots also requested international assistance to fight the fire. Meanwhile, neighboring Greece sent two firefighting planes to the island as part of a European support mechanism, and Israel also sent aid. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades thanked both countries in a tweet on Twitter. According to the authorities, two more firefighting planes are on their way from Italy.
Cyprus has been experiencing a heat wave since the beginning of this week. Mercury has already risen above 45 degrees Celsius several times.
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