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Thousands of Swedes in southern Europe devastated by fire





© Andreas Alexopoulos / AP / TT
Burnt out houses and car wrecks in Greek Lamperi.

Severe fires continue to erupt a heat wave in southern Europe. There are 3,000 Swedes in Greek Rhodes, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is “following developments closely.”

On Monday evening, the Greek fire of Rhodes – which broke out on Sunday – was not brought under control. The power grid is said to be working again and the situation is looking better.

– You see flames reaching into the sky and you are a little worried about what will happen, says David Lugren, who is on holiday in Faliraki in Rhodes, to Aftonbladet.

It is believed that thousands of Swedes are present on the popular tourist island.

“According to our information, it is estimated that around 3,000 Swedes are in Rhodes at the moment. We currently have no information on the infected Swedes,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in an email to TT.

continuous heat wave

In Patras, about 200 kilometers west of Athens, 300 firefighters, two firefighting planes and five helicopters are working to extinguish a large forest fire that has so far destroyed about 20 homes and more than 3,000 hectares of pine forests and olive groves. Nearby villages have been evacuated and many people are being treated in hospital for burns and respiratory problems.

The heat wave that has afflicted Greece does not seem to have subsided. The temperature in the Peloponnese peninsula, where Patras is located, is expected to rise to 45 degrees in the coming days. The government has opened air-conditioned facilities for the homeless, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is asking citizens to reduce their electricity consumption so that the power grid does not collapse.

– This is the worst heat wave since 1987, he says.

Industries may be asked to shut down voluntarily and electricity may be imported from neighboring countries to cope with Greece during the heat wave, Reuters writes. An extremely hot week in 1987 claimed the lives of more than a thousand people.

Evacuations in Italy

In the Italian resort of Pescara on the Adriatic Sea, at least five people were injured when a fire engulfed a nature reserve with large pine forests near a popular beach.

Among the injured was a five-year-old girl, but her injuries are not seen as life-threatening, according to reports. Watchman. About 800 people were forced to evacuate from the popular holiday resort, including tourists and residents of a nunnery.

Hundreds of fires broke out in Italy over the weekend, especially in the southern parts of the country.

“In the past 24 hours, firefighters have carried out more than 800 interventions; 250 in Sicily, 130 in Puglia and Calabria, 90 in Lazio and 70 in Campania,” the National Fire Service, Viglie del Foco, wrote on Twitter.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote that “the Swedish embassy in Rome is following the developments of the forest fires that broke out in Sicily,” adding that there was no information on injuries among the approximately 500 Swedes who had informed the embassy that they were in Italy.

Turkey receives aid from the European Union

On Turkey’s southern coast, several tourist resorts have been evacuated and eight people have been confirmed dead so far in connection with the fires. Several large fires near the resorts of Marmaris and Antalya are still under control.

According to Aftonbladet, about 400 Swedes are believed to be in the affected area.

On Monday, the European Union said it had loaned three more firefighting flights to Turkey, one from Croatia and two from Spain. Several other countries have already sent such aid.

Forest fires are an annual phenomenon during the hot summer months on the southern Turkish coast. However, this year’s fires are three times more than usual, and have destroyed a much larger area than usual.

It’s several months of unusually dry weather that made the land ablaze easily, and the wind spreading flames.

Also in Finland

Forest fires also broke out in Finland. For a week now, hundreds of firefighters have been battling the flames in Kalajoki in northern Ostrobothnia. The fire is said to be the largest in the country in 50 years and the firefighting work is expected to continue for several days to come.

This is normal firefighting work but exceptional circumstances, says Peter Björkman of the Hindhår-Boe Volunteer Fire Brigade.

– If you dig with the shovel down 50 cm, there are still embers, as the Swede told Yle.

– I thought you were extinct, you turned your back and when you turned again it burned again.

FIXED: In an earlier version, an incorrect geotip was entered in the caption.

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