This video from CNN in the USA is called The Greece Fire part 1 of 2.
By Markus Salzmann:
Over 60 die as forest fires sweep Greece
Inferno, apocalypse and “hell on earth” are some of the terms which have been used to describe the devastating forest fires which have been raging in Greece since last Friday, and which have so far claimed at least 63 victims, including children.
Hundreds of persons have been taken to hospitals suffering from burns and smoke poisoning. The fires are the region’s worst in decades. A state of emergency and a three-day-long state mourning period for the victims were proclaimed last Saturday.
In addition to the mainland, in the region around the capital Athens, the Peloponnese peninsula and the largest Greek island, Euboea, have been hit. Dozens of villages are surrounded by flames; 15 have already been completely evacuated.
Most victims died trying to protect their houses and property from the flames. Others died trying to escape from villages encircled by fire. The village of Artemida in the west of Peloponnese was most badly hit. Here the fire claimed 30 lives.
On Sunday, the fire disrupted the country’s most important railway connection, between Athens and the port of Thessaloniki. Only a huge effort by the fire brigade and fire-fighting airplanes prevented the flames from spreading to the historical town of Olympia—home of the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, the flames damaged an excavation area in the proximity. …
On Sunday, a longstanding letter of complaint from the fire brigade of Sparta to the responsible ministry in Athens was made public. The letter pointed out the complete inadequacy of fire brigade staff and made clear that for financial reasons, no new staff had been hired for years. In addition, vehicles and equipment were in a deplorable condition. Most vehicles are older than 15 years, barely functional, and in need of constant repair.
In order to quash demands for increased funding for public safety, the government removed the entire top layer of management of the fire brigade last year. Experienced officials were replaced by [Rightist prime Minister] Karamanlis supporters on the basis of party membership. Some of the replacements lacked any appropriate background or qualifications. …
Property speculators are thought to be behind many of the fires. Forest areas are ignited, upon which properties are subsequently illegally erected and then officially registered by corrupt local authorities. This method is well known and, according to estimates, is the cause of dozens of fires every year.
The Greek Federation of Architects estimates that some 100,000 properties have been erected in Greece on such illegally acquired developmental land. The majority the constructions are mansions, and it is now presumed that foreign speculators are also participating in such real estate practices, employing impoverished youth or local petty criminals to ignite the fires.
See also here.
Greek election results: here.
Dozens die in Portugal’s worst-ever forest fire. Portugal has the highest proportion of forest area in Europe, most of which is in private hands and poorly managed, abandoned or planted with acres of highly flammable Eucalyptus trees: here.