For the second day in a row, and in scorching temperatures, firefighters were still struggling on Sunday to put out a forest fire ravaging the northwest of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, near the city of Patras.
But according to the firefighters, "the fire is on the way to being brought under control".
"There are still a few scattered homes," they added in a statement Sunday evening.
Heavy losses for the inhabitants?
Eight people have been hospitalized with respiratory problems and burns, in hospitals in the region which remain on the alert, according to the Greek civil protection.
"The disaster is immense," said Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, the mayor of Aigialeias, one of the villages close to the fire.
“There has not yet been an official assessment of the damage, but around ten houses have burned down in the Ziria region, agricultural sheds and animal stables have also been destroyed, which represents a lot for the inhabitants. of the region who live off agriculture, ”he told the Greek news agency ANA.
The town hall of Aigialeias made emergency accommodation available on Saturday for residents who had to flee the villages surrounded by flames.
"We have lived through hell"
In the villages of Ziria, Kamares, Achaias, Labiri, nearly thirty houses, agricultural sheds and stables burned down, entire fields of olive trees were destroyed, according to the local newspaper Patrastimes.
"We lived through hell, we were afraid of losing everything in the flames," Giorgos Alexopoulos, a resident of Ziria, told AFP.
On the seafront, the seaside resort of Loggos was also evacuated.
Nearly a hundred residents and tourists were transported Saturday evening by the port police to the port of Aigio, a few kilometers from the village.
A situation that is improving?
Sunday at dawn, nearly 300 firefighters, with 77 trucks, two water bombers and five helicopters were again on the front line to extinguish the fire.
But according to the Minister of Citizen Protection, Michalis Chryssochoïdis, who went on Sunday to assess the damage from the fire, "the current situation is better than that of Saturday".
“About a hundred properties were saved thanks to the firefighters' fight with the flames.
We remain cautious and (…) we will support our fellow citizens affected by this fire, ”he also insisted.
The main highway connecting Corinth to Patras which had been closed to traffic on Saturday, as well as the Rio-Antirio bridge connecting the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, reopened on Sunday.
13,511 hectares already gone up in smoke
According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), 13,511 hectares had burned as of August 1 in Greece.
For 24 hours, 60 forest fires have occurred according to the firefighters.
On Sunday, another major fire broke out on the island of Rhodes in the Pandanassa region, where 67 firefighters with 20 vehicles, three water bombers and four helicopters were deployed.
The firefighters evacuated the area nicknamed the "valley of butterflies" where there were locals and tourists as a precaution.
Power cuts have also occurred on the island.
Greece has been facing a new heat wave since Friday, with temperatures hovering between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius, according to weather services.
Dry by the heat, the Greek forests experience fires every summer.
A few days ago, a fire ravaged Mount Penteli, near Athens.
In July 2018, 102 people were killed in the coastal town of Mati, near Athens, the worst death toll from a fire in the country.
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