Cyprus sends aircraft, firefighters to Greece

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Cyprus has sent to Greece two firefighting aircraft and a ground unit to assist the Greeks in tackling wildfires.

Fires rage across Greece, destroying forests on Rhodes and gutting homes close to Athens during a heatwave threatening to further stoke tinderbox conditions across the country.

Since Monday, Greece has seen multiple wildfires break out across the country – including one which led to the evacuation of 1,200 children from a summer camp.

The most severe fire in Greece currently is in the Dervenochoria region north of Athens, where billowing smoke can be seen on satellite images.

Other fires continue to rage in the towns of Loutraki – a coastal town near the city of Corinth – and Kouvaras, south of the capital.

Some areas have been evacuated due to encroaching flames.

On the island of Rhodes, authorities sent reinforcements to combat a fire which erupted in a densely wooded mountainous area and ordered the evacuation of three villages as a precaution.

Fires are common in Greece, but hotter and drier summers have turned the Mediterranean into a wildfire hotspot in recent years.

Aircraft sent from Italy and France joined firefighting efforts boosted by crews from Romania, Poland and Slovakia, deployed to help battle the blazes.

Israel will send two firefighting planes to Greece to assist the firefighting effort and will stay there as long as required, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Cyprus has sent assistance to Greece through the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union to deal with the forest fires.

Cyprus sent two Air Tractor-type aircraft of the Department of Forests, with a crew of four, and seven more staff for ground support.

The mission departed from Paphos airport to Tatoi airport, where they will be briefed and receive the details of their mission.

“The Republic of Cyprus has always responded to provide assistance to Greece and other neighbouring countries,” the government said.