PSAROPOULI, Greece, Aug 8 – Thousands of people fled their homes on the Greek island of Euboea as the fire raged uncontrollably for a sixth day on Sunday, and ferries were prepared for more evacuations after moving many to a safe place by sea.
The fires that had threatened the northern suburbs of Athens in recent days subsided. But the flames in Euboea, a large island east of the capital, spread rapidly on several fronts, devastating thousands of hectares of forests in its northern part, and forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages.
“I feel angry. I have lost my home … nothing will be the same the next day,” said a resident after boarding a rescue ferry in Psaropouli village.
“It is a disaster. It is huge. Our villages are destroyed, there is nothing left of our houses, our properties, nothing, nothing,” he said.
Wildfires have erupted in many parts of the country during a week-long heat wave, Greece’s worst in three decades, with scorching temperatures and warm winds.
“Fiery destruction,” To Vima newspaper said on its cover Sunday.
The Coast Guard has evacuated more than 2,000 people, including many elderly people, from different parts of the island since Tuesday in dramatic maritime rescues as the night sky turned apocalyptic red.
Others fled their villages on foot overnight, down roads dotted with burning trees.
“A house is burning around here,” a woman told emergency teams on the ground in the Vasilika settlement, pointing to a blazing fire in the distance. “Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,” replied one of the firefighters.
Greece has deployed the army to help fight the fires and several countries, including France, Egypt, Switzerland and Spain, have also sent aid, including fire fighting planes.
More than 570 firefighters fight the flames in Euboea, where there are two active fronts in the north and south of the island.
(Additional information and writing by Karolina Tagaris Editing by Frances Kerry and David Evans, edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)
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