Cyprus and Sweden have sent firefighting help to Greece in order to aid in battling the massive fires raging across the country on Wednesday.
Due to a severe heatwave and dry conditions, Greece has seen a large number of forest fires erupt across the country, with some of the worst fires located in Varympopmpi, in the north of Athens, on the island of Evia, and on the island of Kos.
Greece accepts international help in fighting fires
Cyprus, Greece’s neighbor and one of its strongest allies, has sent a great deal of help to the country in order to quench the fires.
A C-130 military aircraft, which can be fitted with a modular airborne firefighting system in order to be used as a water drop aircraft during forest fires, was sent to Greece by Cyprus today. Traveling on the aircraft were 20 firefighters, two fire trucks, and 20 members of a civil defense squad with personal equipment.
The firefighting mission departed Wednesday morning from Larnaca, Cyprus, and landed at Elefsina airport outside of Athens at noon.
According to the spokesperson of the Cypriot Fire Brigade on Twitter, the Cypriot firefighters are to be deployed to the areas of Varympopi and Thrakomakedones outside Athens to help put out the blaze there.
A tweet by the spokesperson of the Cypriot Fire Brigade, Andreas Kettis, displaying the reinforcements that Cyprus sent to Greece Wednesday is shown below.
Διεθνές Αεροδρόμιο Λάρνακας – Ετοιμασία για την αποστολή στην Ελλάδα. Τελευταίες οδηγίες από τον Αναπ. Διευθυντή Πυροσβεστικής Υπηρεσίας. pic.twitter.com/fR5urRu9Ye
— Andreas Kettis (@akettis) August 4, 2021
In an emergency press conference on Wednesday morning the Greek Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Hardalias, mentioned that the country was also expecting aid from Sweden.
Hardalias announced that Sweden responded swiftly to Greece’s request for help in putting out the fires ravaging the country, sending two air tractor “Fire Bosses” on Wednesday. The aircraft can drop water on forest fires in order to drown them, and Sweden cooperated with the European Union “Resc-EU” program to send help.
Greece is also using a Russian Beriev Be-200 Altair aircraft to fight the fires, which it has leased from Russia for the summer. The firefighting aircraft, which has a capacity of 12,000 liters (2,639 gallons) of water, was used most recently in Greece to fight the fires which ravaged Attica and Evia in early July.
Fires devastate areas across the country
Tuesday was one of the worst days of this summer in terms of fires in Greece, with massive wildfires raging in Varympompi, Athens, on the islands of Evia and Kos, as well as near Evzones at the border of Greece with North Macedonia.
A total of 81 fires broke out in Greece on Tuesday, making it one of the worst days in recent years. Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, 41 more fires broke out across the nation, the Greek government stated.
A huge fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon in Varympompi, a northern suburb of Athens. Houses in the area, as well as in the nearby neighborhood of Adames, have now burned down from the blaze, which kept burning all night long.
All residents in areas threatened by the strong fire have been evacuated, including the settlements in Varympompi, Adames, Thrakomakedones, and the Olympic Village.
The second biggest blaze that kept raging on Tuesday was the front on the island of Evia (Euboea), northeast of Athens.
Many communities in the northwest part of the island, including Retsinolakkos, Kourkoulou, Sipiada, Chronia, Dremonas, Skepasti, and Kokinni were ordered to evacuate their homes for precautionary reasons. Additionally, people from the coastal village of Mourtias also had to leave their properties and find refuge somewhere else.
A statement to the press by the Greek Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management on the state of the fires on Wednesday morning is shown below.