“July ended 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 in an interview with public broadcaster ERT.
He pointed out that firefighters, the police, the Coast Guard, the Armed Forces, the volunteers, and the citizens were fighting these battles every day, stressing the need to support them.
“I am not going to gloss over anything,” Kikilias said adding that teams from the civil protection Support Secretariat had already started to record the damage from the fires.
“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 programs we implemented, 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.