The fires do not subside: Greece still burns, FBI on the ground to track down more than a thousand missing on Maui

Unfortunately 2023 is the summer of fires. Not only within the national borders, which flared up in Sicily, Sardinia, Calabria, Puglia, but also abroad. Very similar scenarios have occurred in Greece, Hawaii, Tenerife and Canada in recent weeks: flames, destruction and victims.

According to a report by the National Observatory in Athens, more than 40,000 hectares of land were destroyed by fires in Greece in three days from 19 to 21 August. Fires continue to flare up today, August 23, in the Aegean Islands of Evia and Kythnos, and Boeotia, north of Athens, and in the west of the country. Another fire that broke out on the island of Samothrace in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday, August 22, was extinguished at night and the island was left without electricity. In the past few hours, the burned bodies of migrants, including two children, were found by firefighters near the Dadias forest national park in East Macedonia and Thrace region, close to the Turkish border. The national park, one of the country’s protected natural areas, is located a few kilometers from the border where the Maritsa River passes, and is located in a large area next to the 40-kilometer-long wall that Athens built to prevent the entry of immigrants from Turkey. . Migrants and asylum seekers often hide in forested areas to avoid being identified and rejected by Greek authorities.

The fire situation in Greece does not seem likely to improve. Intense hot and dry weather conditions increase the risk of forest fires.

greece copernicus-2 fires

Many villages in western Turkey were evacuated on 23 August due to the spread of the forest fire. According to the news of the state news channel Trt, flames broke out in Çanakkale. Ship traffic in the Dardanelles was temporarily stopped due to the fire.

Fire emergency also on the island of Maui. The deadliest fires of the last century in the US caused at least 115 deaths, according to the latest tentative death toll, but only 27 have been identified. Hawaii officials announced that about 1,100 people are still missing. Experts from the FBI also took to the field to manage the situation. “We are cross-checking all lists (the list of casualties at individual locations) to determine who is actually still missing,” Special Agent Steven Merrill told the press.

The police have created a special phone number and encourage relatives of the missing to contact this number. “We really need people’s help,” Merrill insisted, explaining that some missing persons are sometimes identified only by name on lists circulating on the Internet. In these cases, additional information such as last name or date of birth can greatly assist federal police in locating the person or confirming their disappearance.

The FBI is also mobilizing its agents to collect DNA samples from the families of missing persons who are unable to travel to Maui, anywhere in the world. Identifying the unrecognized bodies found in Lahaina’s ashes is a daunting task, and having the DNA is crucial. Only 104 specimens have been collected so far.

Hawaii fires disperse AP Photo by Jae C. Hong) Associated Press LaPresse Italy and Spain only

Canada was also deeply affected by the fires. Nearly 400 people have flared up in the state of British Columbia, where a state of emergency has been declared and at least 30,000 families have been ordered to leave the country. “Canada’s worst bushfire season in modern history,” said British Columbia Prime Minister David Eby. Washington PostT.

In terms of weather, the situation has improved a bit over the past few hours. But the concern remains and an entire country is in shock. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that “it has been a dreadful and shocking time – Canadians watch in horror from coast-to-coast scenes of apocalyptic destruction and fires”.

Canada fires up 2023 (Italy and Spain only) by Darryl Dyck The Canadian Press, via AP LaPresse

The European Climate Executive Agency writes on infrastructure and environment together: “As smoke from bushfires continues to rise across Europe, the need to find long-term solutions to one of the most devastating impacts of climate change is more urgent than ever.” Note. “More than 100 fires are burning in Southern Europe as temperatures once again exceed 40°C at the peak of the summer 2023 heatwave.” The agency points out: “Various Hayat projects in Europe are trying innovative ways to reduce both the number of fires and their impact. For example, in Northern Italy, GreenChainSAW4LIFE aims to address climate and environmental risks, including fires in Po, Bronda and Infernotto The €5.5 million project, which will run until 2024, hopes to save around 200 tonnes of CO2 per year by reducing the incidence of forest fires. The project uses a combination of climate-friendly forest supply chains, which lead to the low-carbon energy community and open access a digital planning platform.”

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Source: Today IT