'Biblical catastrophe': Footage shows wildfires rip through Greece as people flee

7 August 2021, 10:22 | Updated: 7 August 2021, 15:22

Footage shows dramatic scenes from Evia in Greece
Footage shows dramatic scenes from Evia in Greece. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Dramatic footage shows the scale of wildfires that have ripped through Greece and Turkey.

Homes, businesses and farms have been burnt up as Greece's forests set ablaze.

A volunteer firefighter died combatting flames north of Athens when an electricity pole fell on him, while eight people have been killed over the Aegean Sea in Turkey, where fires have devastated its southern coast.

Remarkable footage captured the moment people were evacuated at Evia on a ferry as fires burn in the dark.

The residents were left with no choice but to flee and watch from the water as their home burnt up.

Read more: Fires engulf Mediterranean resorts as Greece sees worst heatwave for 30 years

More than 1,100 people were taken by ferry from a seaside village and the beaches on Evia, which is also popular with tourists, because the fires cut off other ways of escape.

A number of countries have deployed help to Greece
A number of countries have deployed help to Greece. Picture: Alamy
Burnt cars left as a wildfire burns in the Varympompi suburb north of Athens
Burnt cars left as a wildfire burns in the Varympompi suburb north of Athens. Picture: Alamy

Across that part of the Mediterranean, thousands of people and holidaymakers had to escape the flames.

They have been seen clutching babies and carrying older people on chairs as they got onto ferries.

Greece has seen temperatures of 45C, what has been called its worst heatwave for three decades, and winds have fuelled the fires even as the heat relented.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated, while three people were arrested across Greece on suspicion of starting some of the fires – two of which are alleged to have been intentional.

Climate change has also been blamed.

Firefighters spent the week tackling huge fires
Firefighters spent the week tackling huge fires. Picture: Alamy

In southern Greece, Eleni Drakoulakou, the deputy mayor of East Mani, told state broadcaster ERT: "It's a biblical catastrophe.

"We're talking about three-quarters of the municipality (being affected)."

With Greece's firefighters stretched facing what the civil protection chief called "exceptionally dangerous, unprecedented conditions", the government has called for help through the European Union, with a number of EU and non-EU countries sending help.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Balkans and Italy have also been affected by fires.

Two people died of smoke inhalation at an olive grove in southern Italy, the LaPresse news agency reported.