Like all these last days, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has gone first thing in the morning to the Center for the Coordination of Joint Operations of the Fire Brigade, which is located near the Olympic Stadium in Athens. There he has been informed of the efforts to put out the fires, insisting that “the priority of all these last days is above all the protection of human life», Adding that also where property ownership is possible but fundamental are infrastructures starting with the electricity grid. He also added that helping those affected by the fires will be his priority and when “this nightmare summer, we will all focus on restoring the environment. But it ended with a positive message: “Today we are much better than yesterday”, when at night the Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Jardaliás announced that he had 98 new fires, being a total of 154 of which 64 active. The most important: Attica, the island of Evia, the provinces of Ilia and Messinia in the Peloponnese, Fthiotida and Grevená in the center of the country.
This Saturday the serious fire north of Athens continues, with the capital and nearby municipalities affected by an atmosphere full of smoke and ash and in the Evia island more than six hundred people they had to be evacuated by the coast guard and taken by ferry to the mainland. But the meteorology indicates that temperatures will not exceed 39 degrees, with winds with less force (between 3 and 5 on the Beaufort scale compared to 8 previously).
Help and solidarity
In addition to the messages of solidarity From more than 20 countries, the Government appreciates the help of countries such as France, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania, Switzerland, Israel, Sweden and others that send firefighters and tankers. The first to arrive were 83 French firefighters with two Canadair tankers and Russia sent a powerful Beriev-200ES aircraft.
But in Greece itself, private initiatives are fundamental for the work of firefighters, volunteers, Red Cross, Army and Police: from a supermarket that brings trucks full of cold water bottles, sandwiches and cookies, parking them next to the vehicles of firefighters to Guides and Scouts of Greece who help Civil Protection and municipalities to distribute basic aid packages. They include water, detergent and soap, canned food, towels and much more for those who have lost everything or almost everything and want to go home again. Because the police confirm that thefts are detected in areas where the fires have already been put out. Others collect eye drops, gauze, and burn products for those who fight the flames. And there are volunteers who offer to take people into their home temporarily, like Nektarios Martinos. Greek media describe how he not only helped put out the fires in the area of Thrakomakedones and Varibobi (near Athens) but also took in two needy families and “three dogs that were tied in a warehouse.”
An example of heroism is Irini Malesi, 24, a volunteer to put out fires, who saw her house burn in Varibobi but he continued working with his colleagues and sending some shocking videos to his Facebook account.
Brothers baloncestistas Yanis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo for their part, they have started another initiative after canceling the celebrations related to their victory in the NBA championship. They offer rooms of Hotels (category) free for a few days for those who have lost their home or cannot occupy it again for many days. Being able to shower and rest safely (and with air conditioning) is a great comfort. And the fact that well-known athletes like them start an initiative like this makes many others follow them
The “Together we can” initiative, Launched by the Skai media group, it now has a new activity together with the NGO Dogs Voice, dedicated to domestic animals, many injured, who have either been abandoned by their owners during these fires throughout Greece or who escaped and need care interim and possible adoption. They offer veterinary care, medicine and food for these animals. While the ANIMA organization, which takes care of wild animals, collects injured or scared animals, from lost storks to owls and deer. And it will decide when and where they can return to the forest.
Entrepreneurs will also help: the first company, the pharmaceutical BIANEX whose facilities are north of Athens meters from the flames has announced that will directly donate 100,000 euros to the Agricultural University of Athens to study the reforestation organized area. And he stressed that being the most important company in this area, it will continue reforestation with daily attention during the coming years. It will do so “to ensure that there will be a better green lung than before”, referring to the large areas of forest destroyed.
First state aid
The Government has already announced the first emergency aid, a million and a half euros, for essential expenses of the municipalities and regions affected by the fires. Aid for families, businesses and companies will take time, but according to the Prime Minister they will be a priority of his executive.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism