“July concluded with 1,470 fires, of which 10 were large and we dealt with them with great difficulty and a great deal of effort,” Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Tuesday in an interview with public broadcaster ERT.
Kikilias said that teams from the civil protection Support Secretariat had already started to record the damage from the fires.
“I am not going to gloss over anything,” he said, while noting that the men and women of the fire department, assisted by the police, coast guard, armed forces, volunteers and ordinary citizens were fighting these battles daily.
“It is worth supporting them, helping them in an effort that often exceeds our powers. I say this because we saw that these conditions of extreme heat, in other words the climate crisis that is now with us – unfortunately with human intervention either in the form of arson or criminal negligence – have led to immense pressure this month with multiple fires daily. More than 60 fires a day and many of these days, especially those when we had heatwaves of 44, 45 and 46 degrees together with high wind, have tested our endurance. Every year, we are one of the Mediterranean countries that is afflicted by fires,” Kikilias said.
Commenting on tourism, he noted that the “numbers were good and continue to be good. For the regions where we faced major challenges in previous years, in northern Evia, on Samos, with the programmes we introduced, the electronic passes and capabilities to support these areas, Samos this year had a 30 pct increase relative to 2019 and Evia, also, saw a big increase. Therefore, the state is here and gives support,” he added.