‘Greatest ecological catastrophe’: Greek PM addresses wildfires

·

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has addressed the country’s expansive wildfires in a news conference in Athens on Thursday. 

Prime Minister Mitsotakis described the wildfires as “the greatest ecological catastrophe of the last few decades”. 

“We managed to save lives, but we lost forests and property,” Mitsotakis said. 

“We are in the middle of August and it’s clear we will have difficult days ahead of us” until the main season during which fires break out is over, he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged climate change amidst mounting criticism for the timing and extent of firefighting efforts. 

“The climate crisis — I’d like to use this term, and not climate change — the climate crisis is here, and it shows us everything needs to change” he said, adding he was ready to make the “bold changes” needed.

“This is a common crisis for all of us,” he said.

Mitsotakis says authorities have battled around 100 active blazes each day. 

The largest fire has burnt more than 50,900 hectares in northern Evia since August 3, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. 

Beekeeper Antonis Vakos, 49, assesses his mostly destroyed beehives, following a wildfire near the village of Voutas on the island of Evia, Greece, August 11, 2021. (REUTERS/Stelios Misinas)

The fires in Evia have swallowed up pine trees and consumed scores of beehives crucial to the trade of Greece’s famed pine honey. 

About 40 per cent of Greek pine honey is collected in Evia’s now ravaged north, says a local beekeepers’ cooperative head Stathis Albanis. 

“First we tried to save our houses. Unfortunately we could not save our hives,” Vakas said. 

Greece is the European Union’s (EU) fourth-biggest exporter of honey and the EU’s eighth biggest producer, according to the latest Eurostat figures. 

Beekeeper Antonis Vakas is lamenting the loss of his trade. 

“The destruction is immeasurable,” Vakas said. 

“Beekeeping has been destroyed. We are destroyed. There is no green anywhere. Bees cannot exist without green.”

The fire department say 106 blazes broke out across Greece in the 24 hours to Thursday evening. 

The recent fires follow the most intense and protracted heat wave experienced in the country since 1987. 

Source: AP, Reuters

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Multicultural media’s vital role in public interest journalism a key message at Sydney event

Multicultural media's vital role in public interest journalism was a key message at a Sydney event by IMMA.

‘Into the Moonlit Village’ echoes of Battle of Crete and Minoan myth

The story behind ‘Into the Moonlit Village’ is as captivating as the work itself. We found out more to mark the Battle of Crete.

Generations of Pontians remember their roots at genocide commemoration in Melbourne

Melbourne's Pontian community commemorated the Greek Genocide on Sunday, May 19, as part of a series of events. Read more here.

Australian Hellenic Medical Charity raises $30,000 for Nicosia hospital

The Australian Hellenic Medical Charity raised $30,000 for the Paediatric Clinic at Makarios III Hospital in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Iran’s President and Foreign Minister killed in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister have been killed in a helicopter crash, state media has reported.

You May Also Like

‘It’s very difficult’: Material and labour shortages grip WA’s construction industry

A shortage of material supplies and labour have hit WA's construction industry as the state's strong economy translates into a building boom.

Victorian Labor commits $500,000 to Northcote City FC if re-elected

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that a re-elected Labor Government will commit $500,000 in funding to Northcote City FC.

Greece and Bangladesh take first steps in deal to facilitate legal migration

Greece and Bangladesh have signed a declaration of intent concerning legal migration and the return of undocumented migrants from Greece.