NEWS

Fire service on alert for flare-ups

Danger of blazes spreading not yet over; authorities announce first batch of aid for damages

Fire service on alert for flare-ups

Firefighters were carefully monitoring the active fires in the Attica region and other parts of Greece late Friday afternoon.

High temperatures are concerning to the Fire Service, because, along with the prevailing dryness, they could contribute to a fire flaring up in unexpected directions, as happened Thursday in western Attica, when the fire suddenly turned towards the town of Mandra, west of Athens, entering inhabited areas and damaging homes. There is also a heightened state of alert on the island of Rhodes.

According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System, the three fires that started Monday in east Attica, near the town of Loutraki, in the Corinthia regional unit and Dervenochoria, a cluster of villages in the regional unit of Viotia, just north of Attica, have burned through over 16,400 hectares, with the latter accounting for over 10,000 as it spilled over into Attica. At least the Viotia fire has not yet threatened the Mt Parnitha national forest.

Other countries have continued to send reinforcements to help with the firefighting; the arrival of 149 firefighters and 49 fire engines from Poland was expected late Friday; Romania will send 10 fire engines and 50 firefighters, in addition to units already operating in Greece, and Bulgaria also 10 fire engines and 50 firefighters. Besides the four planes sent by France and Italy earlier in the week, three more aircraft from Israel and Jordan have arrived.

Several ministries, led by that of Climate Change and Civil Protection, have announced relief measures. For each heavily or totally damaged building, the owner will get 10,000 euros, and those whose buildings can be repaired will get 5,000 euros each. Applications for aid will be able to be submitted online at arogi.gov.gr, which will be activated in the coming days. The aid will be disbursed after inspections. 

There will also be handouts for repairs and reconstructions, rent subsidies up to 500 euros, as well as help for companies ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 euros, depending to the extent of the damage.

Each household will also receive a minimum of 600 euros to help replace damaged goods; the amount will increase according to family size. A grant of 4,500 euros will be given to those suffering incapacitating injuries and all affected by the fires will be excused from paying income taxes for six months and property taxes for three years. 

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