Four dead in Cyprus as “most destructive” forest fire | News from Europe


Hundreds of firefighters and several firefighters deployed as a second day set fire to the Troodos Mountains.

Four people have been found dead as a large fire ravaged Cyprus for a second day, devastating forest areas in a fire that one of the officials described as worse.

The fire, fueled by strong winds, affected at least 10 communities in an area of ​​50 square kilometers (19 square miles) and destroyed several houses in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, an area of ​​pine forest and densely vegetated shrubs.

The victims, believed to be Egyptian nationals and agricultural workers, were found dead near Odou, a mountain community north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca.

“Everything indicates that they are the four people who have been missing since yesterday,” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Sunday.

“We are experiencing the most destructive fire since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus both in material damage and also unfortunately in terms of human lives,” Nouris said.

Nouris said firefighters 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 will move forward in the fight against the flames, but that the strong wings expected later 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 were being supplied to residents of the village of Melini.

Hundreds of firefighters and 11 firefighters have been fighting to stop the blaze, state radio station RIK reported.

Village residents see a fire in the Larnaca mountain region [Petros Karadjias/AP Photo]

The European Union’s executive agency, the European Commission, said the firefighting planes had left Greece to fight the fire. According to reports, Italy and Israel are also deploying air firefighters to help Cyprus.

The EU 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,” Charalambos Alexandrou, director of the forestry department, told Omega TV in Cyprus.

Attempts were made to prevent the fire from crossing the mountains and stopping it before reaching Machairas, a pine forest and one of the highest peaks in Cyprus.

The cause of the fire, which started around noon on Saturday, was unclear. Cyprus experiences high temperatures and drought in the summer months, with temperatures in recent days exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Police said they were questioning a 67-year-old person in connection with the fire.

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