At least four people have died in Cyprus in the violent wildfires that have erupted since yesterday. The bodies of the victims were found near the village of Odo in the south of the island.
The interior minister said the fires were “the most destructive in the country’s history”. Eight villages were evacuated and about 50 square kilometers of forest were destroyed. President Anastasiades talks about a tragedy.
The authorities are “cautiously optimistic” and hope they can stem the biggest flames today. But later in the day, strong winds may make it difficult to extinguish.
Cyprus gets help from abroad. The European Union has sent two firefighting planes, according to Sky News. Israel and Italy also offered assistance. Yesterday, Anastasiades said that all Cypriot government services have been recalled: “The priority is not to lose lives.”
The exact cause of the fire is not yet known, but the island is experiencing a heat wave this week with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees. A 67-year-old man was arrested. He is said to have burned the trash when the fires broke out.
This is what it looks like in the disaster area:
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