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Cyprus joins effort to tackle Greek fires

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Cyprus has joined efforts to tackle huge fires raging in Greece, with 40 personnel flying to Athens on Wednesday, including firefighting crews and civil defence staff.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Niovi Parisinou said firefighters and fire engines are being sent to Greece.

In a written statement, Parisinou said that a 20-member group of firefighters and two fire engines are going to Greece on a C-130 transport plane to aid efforts to contain the fires.

Two planes from the Forestry Department will also assist and a 20-member delegation from the Civil Defence department.

“Cyprus is standing by the Greek people at these difficult times,” she said.

The Athens News Agency reported that a total of 81 fires broke out in Greece in the last 24 hours, and there are currently 40 active fire fronts.

Residents of Varybobi, a northern suburb of Athens, were evacuated on Tuesday afternoon, following a large fire that broke out in a forest near the former royal estate.

Authorities also said they were evacuating Thrakomakedones in the same suburb of Acharnes.

President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted on Wednesday: “We responded immediately to the Greek government’s call to provide help to deal with the catastrophic fires.

“We stand by the Greek people in practice.”

On Wednesday, Greek firefighters were battling to contain a large blaze outside the capital, Athens, after thousands of people were forced to flee their homes.

Greece is facing what has been described as its worst heatwave in over 30 years.

The extreme temperatures have sparked hundreds of fires across the country.

Emergency services faced a race against time to put the blaze out as flames engulfed residential areas on the city’s outskirts, billowing smoke over its skyline.

They ordered thousands of residents north of Athens to evacuate, with fire crews going door-to-door to ensure the orders were being carried out.

Hotel rooms will be offered for the coming nights to the people who had to flee due to the fire.

Only last month, Greece helped Cyprus fight its largest-ever wildfire that killed four Egyptian farmworkers.