PEFKOFYTO: Hundreds of firefighters fought fires that have burned record numbers of woodlands in Greece on Saturday, hundreds of families left homeless, but heavy rains brought respite to hard-hit Turkey.
More than 1,450 Greek firefighters backed by at least 15 aircraft were battling the blazes, with reinforcements arriving from abroad, the fire service said.
One 62-year-old man from nearby Agios Stefanos told Alpha TV how after being evacuated he watched his house burning on television. “My child is still crying from the shock,” he said.
France and Britain said they were rushing to help Greece. UK, Egypt and Spain are also sending reinforcements.
With strong winds and temperatures of up to 38 degrees C (100 F) forecast in some regions on Saturday, the fire in Greece is expected to continue for some time.
European Forest Fire Information System reported that in the last 10 days, around 56,655 hectares (140,000 acres) have been burnt in Greece. The average number of hectares burnt over the same period between 2008 and 2020 was 1,700 hectares.
“When this nightmarish summer ends we will reverse the damage as soon as possible,” Greece Prime Minister Mitsotakis pledged on Saturday.
Greece and Turkey have been fighting devastating fires for more than a week as the region suffers its worst heatwave in decades. Officials and experts have linked such intense weather events to climate change.