Fires in Greece: Anger roars in Asimnio, where “no one arrives”

“Where are our people? We beg them to come and no one is coming,” shouts a resident. Anger is at its height in the small seaside resort of Asimnio, north of the Greek island of Evia, which has been in flames for a week.

The women have climbed onto the roofs , howl and cry, call out to the helicopters which fly over the village but do not stop.

The men have taken to the street, and all refuse to evacuate despite the flames which inexorably approach .

“Look! They are the ones doing the job,” Dimitri laments, pointing to a Slovakian fire engine.

Like most of the inhabitants of this area. a small village clinging to the sea, not far from Pefki, from where the inhabitants are evacuated by the sea, the young Greek criticizes the lack of resources and manpower of the firefighters in his country.

Of the 870 firefighters deployed to northern Evia, many came from Cyprus, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine and Romania, according to the Greek fire services .

The order to evacuate Asimni o, like dozens of villages north of this spit of wooded and mountainous land east of Athens, was given on Tuesday afternoon.

In eight days, fire has already destroyed hundreds of houses and ravaged more than 49. 081. hectares, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Next to Asimnio beach lined with taverns and restaurants, four helicopters plunge tirelessly into the sea and multiply back and forth to water the wooded hills in the distance.

“Let the fire take the woods but spare our houses!” Implores Eleni, a 65 year old woman. She fidgets, laments and yells on the phone to an unknown interlocutor: “Where do you want us to go? I’m going to drown myself, in the sea!”

– “Dreams go up in smoke “-

A jeep deposits food and water bottles at the bus stop transformed into a supply point.

” The dreams go up in smoke . This situation is interminable “, laments Pope Efstathios.

” The villages need us, our help and our support. It is impossible to abandon them in these difficult times ” , says the clergyman, behind his mask and full beard.

In the street, the tone rises, the arms are agitated. Rumors and theories burst forth.

A resident of the village of Asmini, on the Greek island of Evia devastated by fire, on 10 August 2021 (AFP – ANGELOS TZORTZINIS) “We are sure that it is criminal”, affirms Iro Nikolaou, the teacher of the village who lashes out against the evils of Greece, that she does not hesitate to qualify as a “third world country”.

“My students of 15 years have gone to put out the fires, what is that?! Instead of the politicians, I will have committed suicide “, the teacher still enraged.

Suddenly, a voice launches: “We arrested him!”. The motorcycles start right off in a deafening din. The arsonist hunt is on. Everyone is looking for culprits and answers.