On Wednesday, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou thanked the foreign nations that provided Greece with assistance in combating the spread of wildfires which have caused scenes of devastation in parts of the country.
The President sent letters expressing her gratitude to the leaders of each of the countries that provided Greece with aid.
Assistance ranged from the provision of firefighting aircraft to ground support from several countries.
Greek President thanks foreign leaders for support in dealing with wildfires
The European Union also provided assistance to Greece. Notably, it helped organize and facilitate the deployment of 490 firefighters and 9 firefighting planes in July to Greece and Tunisia, which was also affected by wildfires.
Many of the countries listed above which provided aid for Greece did so via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which the Greek government activated, as it became increasingly evident that dealing with the wildfires would be a difficult challenge to overcome.
Aftermath of the fires
Over 600 fires swept across Greece, scorching hundreds of square miles of land and leaving thousands of tourists stranded. Recent extreme heat in the Mediterranean saw temperatures top 40C, as experts blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires.
Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection of Greece Vassilis Kikilias claimed that arson was mostly to blame, commenting that the majority of the wildfires in Greece “were caused by human hands” and that they were “arsons either by criminal negligence or by intention.”
Similar assertions were made by local officials during the peak of the fires. For example, Yorgos Mahimaris, the Mayor of Corfu, stated that the fires had been caused by arson.
Similar sentiments were present on the island of Rhodes, where wildfires also raged. Vassilis Vathrakogiannis, a spokesperson from the Rhodes Fire Department said that “fires are set by human hands” during a discussion with local media outlets.
Nonetheless, many officials have emphasized the impact of climate change on the recent surge of extreme temperatures in numerous European nations. Mr. Kikilias claimed earlier that the climate crisis “brought us this unprecedented heatwave.”
“This is not something that will just occur this year,” he added. “It will last and we have to face the consequences of what that means.”