mothers who carry their children on their shoulders, and the elderly on crutches; On the island everyone is looking for a safe haven. Also in Agios Stefanos, north of Athens, the police and firefighters are no longer hiding the situation. “Fire is unimaginable and very dangerous. People have to get out of here.” The cops go door to door, ring the bell and encourage the tens of thousands of remaining residents to leave their homes.
Villages were evacuated in the north of the capital as well as in the Peloponnese. The lands of the eastern municipality of Mani, south of Sparta, are said to have been largely destroyed.
At night the flames also reached Therakomacdonis, a suburb of Athens. The residents were evacuated. Plumes of smoke hung over the capital on Saturday and ash fell on the streets. Residents were urged to stay indoors. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks of a “nightmare-like summer”.
There is also nothing but despair among the inhabitants of the affected cities. “It’s a disaster, everything in our village has been burned,” Ioannis Aslanis, a resident of our village, told AFP. “We have to find friends to sleep with, otherwise we will have to sleep in our car,” Yorgos, 26, told Reuters.
North of the capital, Athens, the flames advance eastward and into Lake Marathon, the largest water reservoir around the capital. The highway connecting Athens to the north of the country was closed as a precaution and the nearby migrant camps were evacuated.
Mayor Eleni Draculaco of the East Mani municipality of more than 13,000 people, told ERT television on Saturday morning that two-thirds of her municipality had burned. “It’s a biblical disaster,” said the mayor, and complained that too few firefighting planes were deployed in the early hours of the blaze.
The Governor of Central Greece, Phanes Spanos, also said that there are very few resources in Evia to fight the fire. “We want at least a decent number of firefighting planes,” he wrote desperately.
Fires raged along the island of Evia, the third largest Greek island. “We are talking about the end of the world,” said Sotiris Danikas, chief of the Coast Guard in Edipsos, Evia. “I really don’t know how to describe it.”
hottest heat wave
Greece is experiencing its worst heat wave in 30 years, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees, as well as drought. Meanwhile, strong winds make it difficult to put out the fire. At least three people were arrested for arson. Visiting parks and forests is prohibited.
More than 1,400 firefighters are battling the blaze. Israel, Cyprus, France, Croatia and Sweden sent firefighting planes to help the Greeks. Forest fires are still raging in Turkey and neighboring Macedonia.
Police arrested two people on Friday. A 43-year-old man accused of arson. A woman was arrested in a park in Athens. In her possession were two lighters, gasoline and combustible materials.