More than 1 million forest areas were burned
Greece experienced the biggest ecological disaster last summer. Third in the ranking in the Mediterranean – after Italy and Turkey – in terms of area burned this year
By Eleni Vasiliki Bampaliouta
If we add to these the hundreds of thousands of acres that were burned in Evia, Attica and other areas since the beginning of August this year, the result may reach or even exceed this number. From 1970 to 2020, almost 60,200 fires broke out. 14% of the area of Greece was destroyed.
From 1980 to 2020, a total area of 18,190,592 acres, corresponding to 13.8% of the total area of Greece, has been destroyed by the total 56,326 forest fires.
In other words, an area equal to the total area of the Peloponnese and Attica was burned. The data show that the average annual number of forest fires in Greece in these 41 years is 1,373.8 while the average annual number of burned agroforestry is 443,672.9 acres.
Most of the loss of human life from forest fires is observed in Attica and more specifically in Northeastern Attica. The most affected Region of Greece both in terms of forest fires and in burned areas during the last 21 years is the Region of Western Greece and within it the most affected Regional Unit is Ilia The Peloponnese is the Region of Greece with the most burned areas from the most destructive forest fires.
Most of the catastrophic forest fires were caused in the Regional Unit of Evia. Just under 20 million acres have been incinerated in the last 41 years in Greece.
The burned areas increased by 336% compared to the average of the period 2002-2020
According to the meteo of the Athens Observatory, Greece ranks third in the Mediterranean -after Italy and Turkey- in terms of the burned area this year and second -after Cyprus- in terms of the increase (+ 336%) of the burned areas compared to the average of the period 2002-2020.
In first place is Italy with about 1.6 million acres (an increase of 314% compared to the average 2002-2020), followed by Turkey with about one million acres and an increase of 148%. In fourth place is Spain with burned areas of almost 400,000 acres (39% reduction).
In general, the Southeastern Mediterranean region, according to data from the European Forest Fire Information System, has an extremely poor picture, with almost all countries recording a significant increase in the absolute size of burned areas. These data show, according to meteo, that many aerial or other means of forest firefighting are not enough, but an immediate, drastic change is needed towards integrated solutions for managing and dealing with forest fires.
Emotional support of foreign states to Greece
A total of 18 countries responded immediately and sent aid to Greece in terms of both human resources and air and ground firefighting equipment, while the total EU assistance to Greece amounts to 9 firefighting planes, 700 rescuers and 100 vehicles.
Which foreign forces sent aid to Greece
*France: with 82 firefighters and 3 Canadair, while reinforcements are expected with an additional 100 people and 30 vehicles,*Cyprus: with 2 aircraft and a group of 40 firefighters
*Croatia: with 1 Canadair
*Sweden: with 2 Air Tractor aircraft
*Romania: with 108 firefighters and 21 vehicles
*Spain: with 1 Canadair
*Ukraine: with 100 firefighters
*Israel: with 16 firefighters
*Switzerland with 3 helicopters
*Egypt with 2 CHINOOK helicopters
*Qatar: with 69 firefighters and 5 vehicles
*Kuwait: with 42 firefighters
*USA: P-8 reconnaissance aircraft to support firefighting efforts
*Czech Republic: with 35 firefighters and 14 vehicles
*Germany: with two infantry divisions of 216 firefighters and 41 vehicles
*Poland: with 143 firefighters with 46 vehicles
*Slovakia: with 72 firefighters and 25 vehicles
*Austria: with 43 firefighters and 11 vehicles
*United Kingdom: with 21 firefighters
A few words about the photo which took around the world from the biggest ecological disaster that Greece has ever had.
“The Scream” is a painting created by Norwegian expressionist artist Edward Munch in 1893. Munch’s original German title was Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature).
Munch remembered going out for a walk at sunset when suddenly the sunlight he ate made the clouds “red as blood”. He felt an “infinite cry that pierced through nature”.
Researchers have located the spot on a fjord overlooking Oslo and have suggested other explanations for the unnaturally orange sky, ranging from the effects of a volcanic eruption to Munch’s psychological reaction to his sister being locked up in a nearby insane asylum.
The cartoonist Christos Papanikos, captured the shocking photograph of Costas Tsakalidis, referring directly to “Munch” by Munk “(by Konstantinos Kladis).