Sun. May 19th, 2024

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Wildfires in Greece abated on Friday after burning for nearly two weeks but emergency services worked to prevent new flare-ups in the central part of the country, where people had fled massive explosions at an ammunition depot the day before.

The blazes, fanned by rising temperatures and strong winds, have killed five people, destroyed homes, farms and factories and scorched swathes of forest land since July 17.

In the hard-hit area of Magnesia, wildfires reached an air force ammunition depot close to the coastal town of Nea Aghialos on Thursday. The blaze at the depot caused powerful explosions and the coast guard said people were forced to escape by land and sea to Volos, the regional capital.


Click to play video: 'Greece wildfires force mass evacuation in Rhodes'


Greece wildfires force mass evacuation in Rhodes


Fighter jets stationed at a nearby military airport were moved as a precaution, a government official said.

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The shockwave was felt miles away, causing glass windows of several shops to shatter, locals told Reuters.

“They’ve split open, they peeled off, the panels have fallen, they are split open, only metal is left, the ironwork,” said Dina Angeli, a local resident in Nea Aghialos.

Greek Defence Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday he had ordered an investigation into the incident.


Click to play video: 'Greece wildfires: ‘Never been so scared in my entire life,’ tourist says as evacuations continue'


Greece wildfires: ‘Never been so scared in my entire life,’ tourist says as evacuations continue


Firefighters made a “superhuman effort” but failed to tame the rekindling blazes in the wider area of Volos and in Aghialos, fire brigade spokesperson Ioannis Artopoios said.

Dozens of firefighters worked in the area, assisted by five aircraft and a helicopter, as strong winds could cause new flare-ups, the fire brigade said.

The labour ministry urged employers in an industrial zone of Volos to suspend operations for a second day on Friday.

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Click to play video: 'Greece wildfires: Hundreds forced to evacuate Rhodes Island due to blazes caused by intense heatwave'


Greece wildfires: Hundreds forced to evacuate Rhodes Island due to blazes caused by intense heatwave


On the island of Rhodes, where more than 20,000 tourists and locals fled seaside hotels and houses over the weekend, wildfires have died down after scorching about 10 per cent of the island’s acreage. But teams operated at several sites for an 11th day in an effort to fully tame all the fronts.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that Greece needed to take more steps to combat the effects of climate change, stressing the need to improve fire prevention further.



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