The heat in Greece is more dangerous than ever. On Tuesday, a fire got out of control in the northern suburbs of Athens. Four large cities were evacuated. Thousands of people had to seek refuge in other parts of the Greek capital, and homes were set on fire. Residents left the affected areas in panic. The fire was only brought under control on Wednesday because the winds had eased a little.
“Our primary goal is to save human lives,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoides said after a crisis meeting on state television. This seems to have worked. As it stands, no one died in the fire. More than 80 homes have become uninhabitable. It must be rebuilt at the expense of the state.
Fine dust pollution 9 times higher than the set value
However, the Athenians now suffer from a huge amount of particles from the plumes of smoke. Meanwhile, the Greek health authority has reported pollution of up to 465 micrograms of fine dust per cubic meter in the city centre. For comparison: the EU-wide limit value is a daily average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Accordingly, residents are asked not to leave their homes and close their eyes.
The big problem: clouds of smoke can only be blown out by new storms. However, these can start a fire.
“Foul smell penetrates the air conditioning”
The Swiss are in the thick of it, too. “It smells burning, it smells bad. It is hard to breathe,” wrote Andreas S., who is on vacation in Athens. A few kilometers away, Erica S. also tries to do it, suffering. «The air is no longer bearable. The smell It permeates the air conditioner. “It’s hard to breathe,” she says.
There is also danger on the island of Crete: Raphael Thoma from Zurich is vacationing there with his wife. On Wednesday morning, he received a text message from the government alerting him to the extreme heat and the danger of fire. “Everyone here has got such news,” Thomas tells Blake. Currently his temperature is 43 degrees but it feels 51 according to the weather service.
The situation is still tense
A fire also broke out on the Peloponnese peninsula, the holiday islands of Rhodes and Kos, as well as on the island of Evia. In all, the fire brigade fought 40 major fires across the country, the Civil Defense announced the evening before. According to initial estimates, hundreds of homes have been burned or damaged across the country.
There is no indication that the situation will improve in the next few days. Until at least the end of the week, temperatures are expected to reach 45 degrees and more in Greece, and the risk of fire is very high in many parts of the country. (vof / SDA)
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