As the government promises to help citizens who have lost their homes, residents have installed a watch on duty around the clock in an attempt to save their homes from the wildfires that ravaged the Greek island of Evia.
With the support of foreign firefighters and volunteers, hundreds of Greek firefighters fought an emergency on the second largest island in Greece, which caught fire for the eighth consecutive day on Tuesday.
Other fronts in the Peloponnese were also reignited a few hours after they were declared under control. The authorities ordered the evacuation of about 20 villages in the Arcadia region.
As more than 500 fires forced the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people, the government announced relief measures for those who lost their homes and properties.
On Monday, as the authorities began to calculate the cost of losing their homes and livelihoods, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized for failing to resolve wildfires across the country.
Mizotakis approved an aid budget of 500 million euros ($58585 million) for the Attica area around Evia and Athens, and said that it would restore all forests destroyed by the fire.
As part of the relief measures detailed by the government on Tuesday, affected people will be compensated for damage to their houses or businesses, they will be exempt from property taxes and receive rent subsidies.
The Prime Minister also promised to provide hundreds of millions of euros in additional funds for civil defense, reforestation and flood control.
The opposition criticizes the government
However, the main political opposition accused the government of using climate change as an excuse to cover up its inadequate handling of the crisis.
“There is no doubt that climate change is a particularly dangerous reality. However, the government cannot use this as an excuse because it ignores the warnings of us and scientists,” left-wing SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras (Alexis Tsipras) ) Told reporters.
Deputy Minister of Civil Defense Nikos Hardalias told reporters that during the worst heat wave in 30 years, state agencies faced 586 wildfires in 8 days and did their best.
“Don’t shoot soldiers in battle. Every home lost for us is a thorn in the heart,” Hadalias said. “The losses we have suffered involve soldiers, not civilians.”
The fire in Greece has killed three people and injured many, some of whom were seriously injured. According to the police, 16 people have been arrested on suspicion of arson or negligent arson.
Sentinel-2 satellite images show that large tracts of forests in Attica, Evia, and Peloponnese were scorched by wildfires. The National Observatory of Athens estimated that about 65,000 hectares (approximately 160,600 acres) were burned down on Sunday.
Lack of air support
Most of the attention on Tuesday was focused on preventing the fire from happening outside Istiaia, the northern center of Evia, where 7,000 residents have not yet been evacuated.
Yiannis Kontzias, the mayor of Istiaia, said that firefighters and volunteers engaged in “hand-to-hand combat, whole-hearted fighting” overnight to install fire belts outside the village.
He said: “We made mistakes and we need to learn from them,” adding that “The Greek country must never forget what happened in northern Evia.”
“Helicopters have helped a lot, and if we do this from the beginning, we can avoid all this damage.”
He responded to a widespread complaint about the lack of air support not only in Evia, but throughout Greece.
Although the government pledged to allocate sufficient resources, many mayors across the country complained of a serious lack of air support for fire fighting.
The Evia force includes hundreds of firefighters from Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. The civil defense authorities stated that on Tuesday, they were strengthened by troops from Cyprus, Slovakia and Poland.
This rugged island is popular with holidaymakers, and many Greeks own summer houses in Evia. Last week, as the fire approached, about 3,000 people were evacuated at sea.
According to Agence France-Presse, so far, European Union countries and other countries have sent 21 planes, 250 cars and more than 1,200 firefighters, some of whom will arrive on Friday.
Meanwhile, staff fought two fires on Tuesday in the coastal province of Mugla in the southwestern part of neighboring Turkey, including a bushfire near the Gumusluk resort in Bodrum.
The mayor of Bodrum stated that the fire will soon be extinguished and no residential areas are threatened.
Also in Turkey, firefighters quickly put out a new fire in a forest in the Sariyer district of Istanbul.
The recent fire in Turkey has killed eight people.