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Greece wildfires forces Evia island residents to evacuate

Wildfires are continuing to rip through the Greek island of Evia, prompting residents to flee to safety by sea.

More than 2,000 people have already been evacuated, with elderly residents carried on to ferries.

Local officials said not enough help had been sent to fight the fires, adding that parts of the island had already been destroyed.

Greece is experiencing its most severe heatwave in 30 years in which temperatures have spiked to 45C (113F).

A number of wildfires have struck the country in recent days. One blaze in the northern suburb of Athens is said to have subsided.

Heatwaves such as this are becoming more likely and more extreme because of human-induced climate change. The subsequent hot, dry weather is likely to fuel wildfires.

On Evia, a large island to the north and east of Athens, two fire fronts have destroyed thousands of hectares of land, along with a number of houses and businesses.

Firefighters have been struggling to keep fires at bay in a number of villages on the island.

Images on Sunday show more people being evacuated including elderly people who were pictured being carried on to ferries.

With no sign of the fire subsiding, residents and officials are calling for more help.

Giannis Kontzias, mayor of the municipality of Istiaia in the northern part of Evia, told local news: “It’s already too late, the area has been destroyed.”

He appealed for more help from water-bombing planes and helicopters.

But Civil Protection Chief Nikos Hardalias said the planes faced a number of difficulties including poor visibility caused by the fires.

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