Monday 9 August 2021

Fires still raging in Evia

I wasn't going to post any more on the fires in Greece as it's all over the news now and I have already written how it has affected us - this is a personal blog after all.  However, I saw these extraordinary photographs taken by NASA and published by CNN Greece, and I think that most people might not have seen them. They show how the fire has spread in just six days, and the gargantuan task our firefighters face, particularly since so many other areas in Greece are burning.

Tuesday 3rd of August

Wednesday 4th of August

Thursday 5th of August

Friday 6th of August

Saturday 7th of August

Sunday 8th of August

The fire in Evia, Greece's second largest island, has cut a line across Evia, isolating its northern part. The fire has left behind it a trail of destruction, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people, engulfing forested mountainsides, obliterating vast swaths of forest and burned scores of homes. The heat was so intense that the water evaporated before reaching the fires. One official described this as a 'biblical catastrophe'.

Since the fires started seven days ago, there's been a lot of reports on social media about the fact that not enough was being done and that the people in Evia felt abandoned by the authorities. The partner of a friend, who has been in one of the villages, reported that in that area they had to fight the fires solely from the ground - no planes were available at all. I guess with so many fires all over Greece, there were not enough to go round, plus the fact that Greece is a country with limited resources.  I also read that a lot of villages had been saved only because young people ignored evacuation orders and stayed behind to keep fires away from their homes.

Today, the fact that not enough has been done in Evia was reported in the Guardian. The report said that 'many villages criticised the authorities' response. 'The state is absent', one villager from the north of the island', Yannis Selimis, told Agence-France Presse. 'For the next 40 years we will have no job, and in the winter we are going to drown from the floods without the forests that were protecting us'.'

And then, I saw that the Istiaia-Aidipsos Council in Evia have updated their cover photo:

The words 'Monoi mas'  has been superimposed on a photograph of the fires in the area. Moinoi mas means 'on our own', so the meaning could be translated as either, 'we are on our own', or, 'we will have to deal with these fires on our own'.

So, it's official. The people of Evia feel abandoned, having to deal with this major catastrophe on their own.

This is not a one-off. This is part of larger picture, which includes the recent fires in the Americas and Siberia, as well as the flooding in so many parts of the world this summer. It concerns all of us. It's climate catastrophe, brought on by human beings, and only human beings can stop its acceleration.

Again, in the Guardian today: 'the fires, floods and extreme weather seen around the world in recent months are just a foretaste of what can be expected if global heating takes hold, scientists say, as the world's leading authority on climate change prepares to warn of an imminent and dire risk to the global climate system'.

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