As Greece continued to fight blazes in several parts of the country Wednesday, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias warned that “conditions over the next few days and weeks will be even more difficult than they are today.”
His sentiments were backed by experts that predicted the worst is yet to come.
The general secretary of the Academy of Athens and Greece’s representative in Europe for climate change, Christos Zerefos, warned in comments to Skai TV that bigger fires are expected if the annual August winds blow normally, which, he noted, “fortunately will not blow so much in the coming days.”
“Then the third heatwave will come this year,” he stressed, noting hundreds of tons of dry flammable wood around the country.
“You will not see this in many other European countries. Fines are needed, legal order is needed,” he said, sounding the alarm: “We are close to a ‘new Varybobi’ with the high temperatures.”
“Forests need diligent work – see what is happening in Switzerland, how the trees are pruned,” he said.
“Unfortunately we will learn to live with extreme phenomena,” he said.
For its part, the government, despite the fact that the general balance is temporarily assessed as positive as no lives were lost, is reportedly greatly concerned about developments in the coming days.
“The difficulties are still ahead of us,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who visited Varybobi Wednesday morning.
According to estimates so far, 12,500 hectares of land was scorched and a hundred houses were either destroyed or suffered lighter damage.
Partial responsibility for the disaster was also placed on those who live or operate businesses in the affected area by Efthymis Lekkas, professor of natural disaster management at the University of Athens. The houses, he said, were literally leaning against the trees, they did not have water tanks, while event venues in the area did not have fire extinguishing systems. He noted that it is senseless for millions of euros to be invested without water tanks in case of a fire so that “everyone waits for the fire department to save them if something happens.”