A moving photo of an elderly lady taken during the fires that devastated the island of Evia, Greece was chosen on Wednesday as one of the four Best Photos of 2021 by TIME magazine.
Taken by Konstantinos Tsakalidis of the SOOC agency, the photo embodied the horror and fear that reigned on Evia and in other parts of Greece in August of this year, when blazes raced through forests and villages, destroying acreage and homes in their paths.
The forests of Evia were among the worst affected by the wildfires, with valuable woodlands that covered the mountains of the island destroyed in the hellish conflagration.
Heartbreaking photo of “Mrs. Panagiota” one of TIME’s Best Photos of 2021
The photo snapped of the black-clad elderly woman outside her own home, in Gouves, Evia, when the flames were about to overtake it, moved the editors at TIME to name the picture as one of the best of the entire year worldwide.
“Mrs. Panagiota” is portrayed as she fled her home carrying a small bag with her belongings as she holds her right arm to her chest in despair.
The photo, taken on August 8, was only one of many during the fires; however, it encapsulates the horror and anguish of those days, when hundreds of homes and livelihoods went up in flames.
According to the NOA, a total of 126,023 acres (51,000 hectares or 510,000 stremmata) has been burned on the island of Evia from the beginning of the fire until August 30.
Greek Reporter delivered more than $172,000 to the victims of the fires on Evia, handing out the donated funds to individuals in two separate events on the island. All the monies had been donated by individuals and corporations around the globe in an effort to aid all those who had lost their primary homes or their businesses to the fires.
Evia was particularly hard-hit by the fires since it is one of the least wealthy of all the Greek islands, and many residents depend on its woodlands for their livelihoods.
From the first moment of the awful fires of August 2021 on Evia island, Greek Reporter deployed its team in Greece not only to report on the disaster of epic proportions, but also to mobilize the Greek Diaspora and Philhellenes around the world to offer support to the fire victims.
People all around the world were stunned by the magnitude of the Northern Evia fires, watching the disturbing images on their TV sets day after day during the month of August — which set temperature records even before the fires broke out.
One third of Evia’s forests destroyed in August fires
According to the meteorological service of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), a total of 126,023 acres (51,000 hectares) was burned on the northern part of the island of Evia. That is the equivalent of the 1/3 of the island’s forests.
Greek Reporter’s initiative was to organize a fundraiser and oversee the distribution of the funds directly to fire victims, bypassing any state bureaucracy and verifying the recipients that were gravely affected by the fires. Our team of journalists were in Mandoudi recently and spoke to city officials and some recipients of the aid.
The response of the Greek Diaspora and philhellenes surpassed all expectations, as the total amount collected via the GoFundMe platform (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-evia-greece), which was delivered to the fire victims, came to an incredible $172,072.00.