(Larnaca) A massive fire fanned by winds and heat erupted in southern Cyprus on Saturday, prompting authorities to seek help from Israel and the European Union to put out the flames that led to the evacuation of ten villages.
Several hours later, firefighters were still unable to put out the blaze that continued to erupt late in the evening in Arakapas, north of the coastal city of Limassol. No injuries were reported, but several houses were destroyed.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades thanked Greece, which sent two Canadians as part of a European mechanism, and Israel, a neighboring country to Cyprus, for responding to the call on this “difficult” day in a tweet.
Officials say two more seaplanes are expected to depart from Italy as part of the European Emergency Aid Mechanism.
In Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced that two Canadians and flame-retardant materials will be sent to the island on Sunday.
Villages in the neighboring region of Larnaca, a coastal town about fifty kilometers from Limassol, have been evacuated as a precaution. Smoke from the fire was visible from Larnaca.
Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the national news agency CNA that the authorities had asked for help from Israel, whose coastline is more than 200 kilometers from the island’s shores.
Agriculture Minister Costas Cadis told him that he had also requested the EU’s help.
More than twenty firefighters, six helicopters and four planes have already been mobilized, as well as personnel from British forces stationed at UK bases installed on the island.
Cyprus has been facing a heat wave since the beginning of the week, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.