Residents from Evia island flee fire by boat, blaze threatens ancient Olympia

·

Greece evacuated people in boats from a beach on the island of Evia on Wednesday amid heavy smoke from a nearby wildfire and fire crews fought elsewhere to keep flames away from the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games as the country sweltered under a record heat wave.

The coast guard evacuated about 90 people stranded on a beach near the northern village of Rovies on Evia island. Private boats helped in the operation. Media reports said three firefighters suffered burns. Several homes were burnt as well as swaths of forest.

Elsewhere, evacuations were taking place in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region due to a major fire near ancient Olympia — where the Olympics were held every four years from 776 B.C. for more than a millennium.

The adjacent town of Ancient Olympia was evacuated, with another seven nearby villages. The area was ravaged by wildfires in 2007 that cost dozens of lives but spared Olympia’s ruined sports venues and temples.

The mayor of the nearby town of Pirgos said a strong firefighting cordon had been placed around the verdant site, one of the most beautiful in a country teeming with antiquities.

“I think the site’s security is at a satisfactory level,” Panagiotis Andonakopoulos said.

Flames burn a mountain in Platanos village, near ancient Olympia, western Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Giannis Spyrounis/ilialive.gr via AP.

In response to the dangerous fire situation, the European Union sent firefighters and water-dropping planes to Greece overnight. The help came a day after another major blaze burned more than 100 homes and businesses near the Greek capital of Athens.

“Following the situation with great concern. European solidarity is at work to fight these terrible fires,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a tweet.

Civil Protection chief, Nikos Hardalias, said 118 wildfires broke out over the past 24 hours, and warned that even worse days could lie ahead for the hard-pressed fire service.

Civil protection workers try to open a door as they check for possible trapped residents during a wildfire in Rovies village on the island of Evia. Photo: AP News.

“We are making a titanic effort on many fronts,” he told an evening briefing. “According to our threat forecasts, tomorrow too is expected to be a difficult day … The toughest part lies ahead of us, the next days and weeks will be even harder. Our key target is to protect human lives.”

Temperatures in Greece reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) Wednesday, in what authorities described as the worst heat wave since 1987. The heat wave is forecast to hover over the country until the end of the week.

Source: AP News.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

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

Advertisement

Latest News

Second year, same spirit: Zeibekiko Festival Australia returns by popular demand

The second Zeibekiko Festival Australia will return with a bang from September 27 this year thanks to Ventouris Productions.

Psihosavato: Remembering loved ones with prayers, prosphora and kolyva

Devout followers of the Greek Orthodox faith will attend a special church service known as ‘Psihosavato’ on Saturday, June 22.

Samian Brotherhood of Sydney acquire new Kingsgrove property for $3.9 million

The Samian Brotherhood of Sydney & New South Wales ‘Lykourgos’ have acquired a dual-level property located at Kingsgrove for $3.9 million.

Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia & NZ to hold 15th Biennial Conference

The Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand will hold their 15th Biennial Conference from December 6 - 7 this year.

Australia Cup 2024 Round of 32: Who will South Melbourne FC face?

South Melbourne FC will face Wellington Phoenix FC in the Australia Cup 2024 Round of 32 this month. Read more fixtures here.

You May Also Like

Chiliadou beach in Greece named Best European Filming Location

Chiliadou beach in Greece was recently awarded the Best European Filming Location of 2023 by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN).

John Stamatakis: The Greek Australian chef producing ‘authentic’ soy sauce

Greek South Australian chef John Stamatakis has created his own fermented food products, for his business called Mould Farmer.

Greece’s Tourism Minister says increase in Australian travellers expected this year

After the Covid-19 restrictions, Australians provided Greek tourism with a significant boost, visiting the country.