Forest fires extinguished, Greek fire service says
3 September 2007
published by news.monstersandcritics.com
Athens, Greece — Almost all the forest fires in Greece have now been extinguished, spokesman for the Greek fire service Nikos Diamantis said Monday.
‘In all areas the fires have been extinguished,’ he said. However, ‘the forest fire danger remains extremely high.’
A fire on Mount Parnon on the east of the Peloponnese peninsula was dying down and posed no threat to habitations.
The fires which broke out in Greece over a week ago killed 65 people, the Health Ministry has said.
It was still unclear what the full extent of the damage was.
At least 1,500 houses and 184,000 hectares of land have been destroyed along with 72,000 domesticated animals, according to the Federation of Greek Farmers’ Cooperatives. Also more than 4.5 million olive trees were lost in the flames.
Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis estimated the damage between 1.5 billion and 1.7 billion euros (2.04 billion and 2.3 billion dollars), according to provisional Greek government estimates.
Experts however were speaking of at least 3 billion euros in damage.
According to the Tourism Ministry, tourism was not greatly affected by the crisis.
Greek Tourism Minister Fani Palli Petralia said that the large hotels on the West Peloponnese were unscathed by the fires. Cruise ships were again travelling to the Peloponnese.
‘The first cruise ship arrived in the small coastal town of Katakolo,’ she said, adding that more than 1,200 tourists had travelled from there to the nearby Olympia tourist destination.
Spyros Ginis, vice president of the Greek tourist association, also confirmed that Greek tourism infrastructure was intact, saying that the great tourist centres on the Aegean islands, on the eastern Peloponnese and on Crete were not touched by the fires.
Meanwhile, thousands of Greeks residing in Greece and abroad have so far donated 62 million euros for reconstruction efforts, authorities said Monday.
The action is to be continued on Wednesday with a so-called Donation Marathon, to be broadcast on all private television broadcasters nationwide on Wednesday evening.