Cyprus asked the European Union and Israel for help on Saturday to curb wildfires raging in one of the island’s mountainous regions, leading to the evacuation of at least three settlements.
The Cypriot Environment Minister, Kadis, told Public Service Television that the fire had burned large areas in the Troodos Mountains and damaged property near the town of Arakapas. As he said, at least four houses were burned.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries so far, but authorities have reported power outages in the area affected by the bushfires. Smoke can also be seen rising from the area in the capital, Nicosia, 75 kilometers away.
Several villages, including Derona, are being evacuated as a fire rages on many fronts. You know, we have a small house in the middle of Dirona. Thank God we are not there this weekend. We pray for the people above, our neighbors, and the emergency services. #cyprus pic.twitter.com/wlOAjRjiUJ
– Nathan Morley (@nathanmorley) July 3, 2021
Government spokesman Marius Pelicanos described the scale of the fire as worrying. He said that both Greece and Israel are sending firefighting planes to put out the fires. Currently, four Cyprus firefighting aircraft are assisting the work of the firefighting teams, which are also hampered by strong winds and the occasional heat of more than 40 degrees Celsius.
Spokesperson Andreas Kittis said firefighters who were on leave were also mobilized.
Huge fires broke out in Cyprus north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca. Israel is sending firefighting planes to help. pic.twitter.com/iug7FTQUJr
– Avi Kaner (@AviKaner) July 3, 2021
Foreign agricultural workers in Cyprus were victims of forest fires
On Sunday, the island’s Interior Ministry said four foreign agricultural workers – presumed to be Egyptians – were killed in a forest fire. The bodies of agricultural workers were found near one of the villages.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but the drought in the island nation is significant.
According to the Cypriot government, this is the worst fire in the country’s history.
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