By Ron Howells • 05 July 2021 • 7:25
Fires are raging across southern Europe.
Four people have been found dead as a huge fire rages on in Cyprus, razing tracts of forest in a blaze one official called the worst ever on record.
The blaze, fanned on by strong winds, has affected at least 10 communities over an area of 50 square km and destroyed several homes in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range, an area of pine forest and densely vegetated shrubland.
Four killed in Cyprus
The victims, thought to be Egyptian nationals and agricultural workers, were found dead close to Odou, a mountainous community north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca.
“All indications point to it being the four persons who were missing since yesterday. We are experiencing the most destructive fire since the founding of the Cyprus republic in both material damage, but also unfortunately in terms of human lives,” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday, July 4.
Nouris said firefighting aircraft and ground crews are focusing their efforts on two massive fire fronts between the villages of Odou and Vavatsinia. He said authorities are “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll make progress in beating back the flames, but strong wings expected later in the day could hamper efforts.
He said 36 people who had been evacuated from their homes have been taken to hotels in the capital, Nicosia, while food and water is being supplied to Melini village residents.
Hundreds of firefighters, together with 11 firefighting planes, have been battling to halt the spread of the blaze, the state radio broadcaster RIK reported.
The European Union’s executive institution, the European Commission, said firefighting planes had departed from Greece to battle the fire. Italy and Israel are also reportedly deploying aerial firefighters to help Cyprus.
The EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite was also activated to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas, the Commission said in a statement. “It is the worst forest fire in the history of Cyprus,” Forestries Department Director Charalambos Alexandrou told Cyprus’s Omega TV.
Attempts were being made to prevent the blaze from crossing the mountains and stop it before reaching Machairas, a pine forestland and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.
The cause of the fire, which started about midday on Saturday, was unclear. Cyprus experiences high temperatures and drought in the summer months, with temperatures in recent days exceeding 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Police said they were questioning a 67-year-old person in connection with the blaze after 4 people were killed in Cyprus and millions of euros worth of damage has been caused.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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