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Politics

Mitsotakis Thanks Firefighters After Emergency Meeting on Varybobi Fire

ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday chaired an emergency meeting on the ongoing fire in Varybobi, held in the mobile coordination centre Olympos near the site of the fire.

"A big thank you to the women and men of the fire brigade. They did very important work throughout the night, especially by the ground teams. We were up against an extremely difficult fire in conditions of extreme hot weather. The most nightmarish fires are those that occur in forests around urban areas. I hold on to the fact that, thank God, we have not until now had any losses of human life as positive and that the evacuation system worked in an exemplary fashion. Our critical infrastructure has held up," Mitsotakis said in statements immediately after attending the meeting.

The prime minister said that the work to record the damage will begin immediately: "The houses will be rebuilt, the forest will recover in time…but there are still difficult times ahead. We have some days yet of the heatwave and then the winds will begin, in which case I ask everyone to remain on absolute alert so that the damage done from now on is as little as possible."

He also thanked the fire brigade, police and volunteers for their selfless efforts against an extremely difficult situation.

As Civil Protection and Crises Management Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias said the wildfire is abating in the larger part of its fronts as the firefighting forces, particularly those on foot, gave a huge battle during the night,

According to the Fire Brigade the condition on Wednesday is much better as all fronts are abating except for the one in Varybobi and Kryoneri which is still active. All firefighting forces will remain in the area on Wednesday in case of rekindlings.

Meanwhile, due to the difficult condition with the wildfires, Greece lodged a request to the European Civil Protection Mechanism for help, to which Cyprus responded immediately and sent 20 firemen for the Varybobi fire and two aircraft for the fire on Rhodes.

It is noted the the fire, which spread over a wide area along the foothills of Parnitha, has destroyed a large part of the forest and damaged many residences.

A total of 150 fire engines with a 520-member crew, 17 ground teams on foot, volunteers, municipality water trucks and machinery, army troops, five firefighting aircraft and nine water dousing helicopters are currently battling the fire.

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