What is happening in eastern Attica is a black hell. Have you heard about the tragedy of the wildfire spreading in Athens, Greece? If not, carry not reading.
Firstly, wildfire is basically a large, destructive fire that spreads quickly over woodland or brush. However, this fire season has become is the deadliest in decades.
Fire swept through the village 40km (25 miles) north-east of Athens on Monday and was still burning in some areas on Tuesday.
Fires are a recurring problem during the hot, dry summer months in Attica.
Officials quoted by AFP news agency have suggested the current blazes may have been started by arsonists looking to loot abandoned homes.
“Fifteen fires had started simultaneously on three different fronts in Athens,” said government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.
As wind-fueled wildfires that killed at least 79 people in vacation areas outside Athens bore down on their seaside resort, 26 men, women and children gathered in the hope that they could find the narrow path leading to a small staircase down to the water.
The gated entrance stood only a dozen paces away, but with smoke blotting their vision and choking their lungs, they appear to have lost their way. Officials found their bodies the next day, Tuesday; several were still clinging to one another.
Greek authorities are looking for dozens of people missing after the deadly and catastrophic wildfires near Athens. After At least 79 people have died, and a search continues for survivors who fled the blaze, including those who took to the sea. More than 170 others have been hospitalized with burns and other injuries.
Furthermore, the blaze struck like a flamethrower, causing both smoke inhalation and skin burns. Coastal patrol boats and private vessels picked up hundreds of those who did manage to reach harbours or beaches.
Flames fanned by strong winds devastated the seaside village of Mati, devouring homes and cars. The coastguard said it and other ships rescued almost 700 people who had fled to the coast, and pulled 19 survivors and four bodies from the sea.
Desperate families in need were trying their hardest to reach the safety of the sea were trapped by walls of smoke and flame. They just couldn’t make it. Others died in buildings or cars.
The blaze has created such thick smoke that the main highways between the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland have been shut down and an orange haze has descended on Athens.
The first fire broke out in a pine forest near the seaside settlement of Kineta 50km west of Athens between the capital and Corinth. At least 150 firefighters were on the scene while five water-dropping planes and seven helicopters helped to fight the blaze from the air.
According to BBC.UK, after the 26 bodies were found in an open space, Nikos Economopoulos, head of Greece’s Red Cross, said: “They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn’t make it in time. Instinctively, seeing the end nearing, they embraced.”
Mati is located in the Rafina region which is popular with local tourists, especially pensioners and children attending holiday camps. Rescuers there found the bodies of 26 adults and children, who had apparently hugged each other as they died, trapped just metres from the sea. It is devastating and heartbreaking how these people couldn’t make it.
High winds spread the fire, trapping many in homes and vehicles and forcing others into the water as they tried to escape the flames.
One of the survivors claimed that the village has disappeared which more than 1,000 buildings had been destroyed or damaged!
Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the blazes and the authorities are seeking international assistance. A fire brigade official confirmed the latest death toll.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of national mourning.
Prime Minister Tsipras has declared a state of emergency in Attica, saying all emergency services had been mobilised.
According to the BBC.UK, a spokesperson for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Georgia Trismpioti, told the BBC some people had lost everything, “The death toll rises every hour, many people lost their loved ones, many people lost their houses, lost everything, and they will need long-term support in order to recover.”
We, the What’s Up Cairo Team, wish all those survivors a speedy recovery and all those families mourning for losing their beloved ones to stay strong and we’re all here for you!
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University Jumped 59 Places in Global Rankings
Congratulations to Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) for jumping 59 places in one year only, the university now ranks the 79 globally in the internally recognized UI GreenMetric World University Rankings.
The university ranked second at the local level in the UI GreenMetric 2020 and the fourth in the Middle East.
The ranking, which is done every year, measures the efforts that campuses exert to become sustainable and its eco-friendly infrastructures. The index looks at 912 universities in 94 countries.
It looks at six main indicators: Infrastructure, energy, waste, water, transportation, and the level of the educational process.
PNU’s advancement this year reflects the effort of the university in maintaining the environmental standards and providing an integrated healthy educational environment that aims at achieving environmental sustainability at all levels.
The Kingdom to Provide Covid-19 Vaccine For Free to All Citizens and Residents
The Saudi Health Ministry announced last night that the Kingdom will provide citizens and residents with the Covid-19 vaccine for free, a senior official told Saudi Al Ekhbariya TV.
The ministry hopes that these vaccines will cover 70% of the Kingdom’s population by the end of next year.
Dr Abdullah Asiri, assistant undersecretary at the ministry, said that the Kingdom is to obtain vaccines through Covax and companies outside of the consortium.
“The Kingdom worked on two paths to obtain the vaccine, through the COVAX organisation, which the G20 had a role in creating and financing…Saudi Arabia will obtain a large number of vaccines through this facility, while the second track is directly contracting with the big companies to cover the gap that cannot be covered through COVAX,” Arab News mentioned Asiri as saying.
“One of the most important goals set by the G20 during Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency is to support all-inclusive and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostic and treatment tools,” he added.
Dr Al Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia had spent so far more than $200 million on vaccine and developing a drug for the virus.
The promising news is that so far, three vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have been found to be at least 70% effective.
G-20 Leaders Close Riyadh Summit and World Leaders Discuss Efforts in Facing the Pandemic
The G20 Leaders’ Summit was presented virtually this year due to the pandemic and was hosted by Saudi Arabia with the participation of the world’s leaders.
The two-day conference ended on Sunday, its organizers hailed it as a success. Following this success, the Kingdom handed over G20 presidency to Italy as Riyadh summit concluded.
The two-day summit, the 15th meeting of the forum, has allowed leaders of economies to come together and discuss the most challenging socioeconomic issues, including finding a response to the pandemic and its challenges.
“We underscore the urgent need to bring the spread of the virus under control,” the leaders of the G-20 nations said in the communique.
“We have seen very clear signs but also actions by the G-20 supporting multilateralism,” Mohammed al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, said during a news conference at the summit’s conclusion.
“We hope that Italy will crystallize this idea with the aim of supporting joint international coordination and intensifying the role, to come up with policies and initiatives to meet any challenges and determine the economic and well-being of our peoples,” the crown prince said.
The crown prince stressed on the importance of cooperation in standing against the outbreak of COVID-19, and its health, economic, and social repercussions.
The G20 leaders also promised to “spare no effort” to ensure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines worldwide.
“We are taking immediate and exceptional measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts, including through the implementation of unprecedented fiscal, monetary and financial stability actions,” the statement said.