“A catastrophe. The fire came around midday with swirling winds, and homes were burned, a lot of animals burned to death. Rabbits, sheep, dogs, everything,” farmer Marinos Anastopoulos told Reuters.
Parts of Greece were left completely ruined on Friday after wildfires swept across the country. Farms were destroyed, and dead animals were lying on the streets and under collapsed fences near the small village of Lasdikas (see video).
Like elsewhere in Europe, Greece has been dealing with extremely hot weather this summer, which has sparked simultaneous wildfires in several parts of the country, burning homes and killing many animals.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece needed to strengthen its preparedness for severe weather brought on by climate change.
Temperatures have been over 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) all week.
Thousands of people fled their homes on the outskirts of Athens on Friday, and hundreds were evacuated by boat from the nearby island of Evia as Greece faced a fourth day of wildfires fuelled by strong winds and hot temperatures.
On the island of Evia, flames burned through a pine forest, home to deer, rabbits, birds and other animals.
The island’s deputy governor, George Kelaiditis, called it “the biggest catastrophe in Evia in 50 years,” with hundreds of damaged houses and thousands of acres of burned forest land.
A wildfire hotspot in Europe
The Mediterranean has become a wildfire hotspot, a European Union atmosphere monitor said on Wednesday, with extreme wildfires in Italy, Albania, Morocco, Greece, North Macedonia and Lebanon.
Climate change caused by humans is making heatwaves more likely and more severe, scientists say.
The EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said the hot and dry conditions had increased the danger of further fires.
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