Four dead after Cyprus suffers ‘most destructive’ forest fire
Search crews have discovered four charred bodies outside a fire-swept mountain village on Cyprus in what a minister called the “most destructive” blaze in the eastern Mediterranean island nation’s history. Interior minister Nicos Nouris said Civil Defence volunteers discovered the remains just outside the village of Odou on the southern edge of the Troodos mountain range. The blaze, which began on Saturday afternoon outside the village of Arakapas, spread quickly amid strong winds and forced the evacuation of at least eight mountain villages, destroying homes and scorching 21 square miles of pine forest and orchards.
“We are experiencing the most destructive fire since the founding of the Cyprus republic,” Mr Nouris said, adding that 50 homes were damaged so far.
Authorities believe the bodies belong to four Egyptian labourers aged 22 to 29 who had gone missing on Saturday evening. Mr Nouris said he has informed the Egyptian ambassador to Cyprus and arrangements will be made to repatriate the remains. Odou community chief Menelaos Philippou told state-run Cyprus News agency the four men who worked at a greenhouse that grew tomatoes tried to flee the fire along a mountain road, but their small truck veered off the road and fell down an embankment.
They then try to flee on foot but did not make it. President Nicos Anastasiades called the fire “an unprecedented tragedy” except for the destruction wreaked by a 1974 war that split the island along ethnic lines after Turkey invaded in response to a coup aimed at union with Greece. Mr Nouris said Greek and Israeli aircraft will join 11 other planes and helicopters in firefighting efforts.
A burned car outside a damaged house on Troodos mountain (Petros Karadjias/AP)
Residents who saw their homes go up in flames vented anger at what they called authorities’ slow response.
Mr Anastasiades, who toured the fire-hit villages, pledged immediate government help to farmers and homeowners who lost crops and property and the families of those who died. Police said a 67-year-old man faces arson charges. A court ordered that he remain in custody for eight days to assist the investigation into the cause of the fire.
Mr Nouris said firefighting aircraft and ground crews are focusing on two massive fire fronts between the villages of Odou and Vavatsinia. Mr Anastasiades said the blaze is “partially contained” but the flames could intensify again if strong winds resume.
Police gather on Troodos mountain (Petros Karadjias/AP)
Mr Nouris said 36 people who were evacuated have been taken to hotels in the capital Nicosia, while food and water was being supplied to residents of the village of Melini. The blaze forced the Cypriot government to request firefighting aircraft from fellow European Union nations and Israel.
Fire officials said the entire department has been mobilised to fight the fire, including 70 fire engines, seven bulldozers and 10 water tankers. Many volunteers also rushed to help fire crews. A pair of helicopters from British military bases in Cyprus have also helped firefighting efforts.
Two Greek Canadair CL-415 aircraft arrived in Cyprus to battle the blaze, along with two Israeli fixed-wing planes.
- Speedo Unisex Fastskin Hyper Elite Mirror Swimming Goggles
RRP PRICE: £50.00SALE PRICE: £35.99YOU SAVE: £14.01 About this item New Hydroscopic Lens shape for maximum foveal & peripheral vision with […]
- Hestya 4 Pieces Swim Caps, Lightweight Swimming Caps Suitable for Kids, Women,...
SALE PRICE: £10.99YOU SAVE: £1.00 Function: this swimming cap can protect us from chlorine, sun damage; And your hair will keep tidy in the caps, […]
- Odoland 16pcs Camping Cookware Kit with Folding Camping Stove Suit 2 People,...
RRP PRICE: £39.99SALE PRICE: £36.99YOU SAVE: £3.00 About this item THE BEST MONEY YOU EVER SPENT – The 15pcs camping cookware set includes 1 x […]
- Aquasphere Seal 2.0 Swimming Goggle
RRP PRICE: £22.99SALE PRICE: £18.99YOU SAVE: £4.00 VISION + COMFORT Created with vision and comfort in mind the Seal 2 0 Swim Goggles feature a […]
- OMORC BBQ Cover, 600D Waterproof Heavy Duty Grill Cover 30-inch Small Barbecue...
SALE PRICE: £14.99YOU SAVE: £3.00 WIDE COMPATIBILITY: 30 x 26 x 43 inch (76 x 66 x 109 cm). This BBQ grill cover fits grills up to 30 inches. The […]
- ROCKBROS Photochromic Cycling Glasses with 3 in 1 Intelligence Lenses for Men &...
RRP PRICE: £36.99SALE PRICE: £27.99YOU SAVE: £9.00 About this item ☆SMART & CONVENIENCE: 3 in 1 Intelligence lenses changing from bright to […]
- Dinosaurs Magnetic Play Set
RRP PRICE: £14.00SALE PRICE: £10.15YOU SAVE: £3.85 Get ready to roar with this Dinosaur Kingdom On-the-Go Magnetic Play Set!; Build a colourful […]
- Jurassic World FWN29 Action Figure, Multicoloured
SALE PRICE: £20.59YOU SAVE: £3.90 About this item Now the exciting action adventure with Jurassic World really begins. These human action […]
- Playmobil 9043 Police Vehicle Super Set – Helicopter, Boat, Jet Ski, Car
SALE PRICE: £39.99YOU SAVE: £10.00 About this item Playmobil Police Set with Submersible Motor, Playmobil 9043 Check Offer Price Product […]
- Drew McIntyre – Elite Survivor Series – WWE Action Figure
SALE PRICE: £24.95YOU SAVE: £3.74 Check Offer Price SKU: B08HX946V2 Dimensions: 26.8 x 16 x 6.2 cm; 220 Grams Pack Quantity: 5 Batteries Required: […]