A forest fire in northeast Athens prompted pre-emptive evacuations in the tourist town of Nea Makri on Monday. Greek fire services said.
“The fire started at 22:35 local time (1935 GMT) near houses in Nea Makri. and preventive evacuations were recommended,” he told the agency. AFP a press officer.
Some 70 firefighters and around 20 vehicles were deployed to extinguish the flames in this coastal enclave 38 km from Athens, he added.
Greece was hit hard by high temperatures and fires which, in early August devastated more than 100,000 hectares, especially in the northwest of Athens, in the north of the island of Euboea and in the Peloponnese. Three people then died in the flames.
The intense heat also favored forest fires in Spain, Italy, Croatia, France, Cyprus or Turkey, as well as in Algeria or Tunisia, on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Experts link these heat waves and fires to climate change which they believe will multiply and intensify these phenomena, as evidenced by a preliminary report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and which indicates to the The Mediterranean as a “climate change hotspot”.
“The climate crisis is here and it tells us that everything must change”the Greek prime minister told reporters in August, pointing to other devastating fires in Turkey, Italy and Algeria.
The Prime Minister, harshly criticized for his handling of the fires, added that firefighters, volunteers and residents “Countless” homes and businesses had been saved, but dozens of properties had still been lost.
Mitsotakis said that 150 homes were destroyed in the Athens metropolitan area in the most intense week of fires in the past month. According to official data, on this occasion In eight days, 586 fires were recorded in Greececaused by the worst heat wave in three decades in a Mediterranean country accustomed to high temperatures and forest fires in summer.
In total, from July 29 to August 12, 100,874 hectares burned in the countryaccording to calculations made by AFP based on data provided by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). On average, annually since 2008, some 2,750 hectares have burned during this same period.
The Mediterranean, a “hot spot of climate change”
The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, proposed last week in Athens at the EUMED-9 summit the creation of an “embryo of military response” that would allow responding to the increasingly frequent natural disasters caused by climate change, such as devastating fires recorded this summer in various Mediterranean countries.
The president, who expressed solidarity with countries like Greece that have suffered severe fires, confirmed Spain’s experience since 2008 with the creation of the Emergency Military Unit (UME) which joined the civil protection system.
Thus, she proposed that, within the framework of “the Europe of defense and security”, work be launched “on what may be an embryo of response and military reaction to these events which unfortunately will be more as frequent as natural disasters”.
On the other hand, Sanchez celebrated this in Athens Declaration on Climate Change and the environment in the Mediterranean “numerous requests” made by the government were included, among which he cited “strengthen the civil protection system or propose greater policy coherence”, emphasizing that “prevention is not only the reaction to them but works and anticipates many of them with the cleaning of the mountains” or “a new culture in the use of the land”.
(With information from AFP and Europa Press)