- Title: Tears and anger as Greek island residents face wildfire aftermath
- Date: 13th August 2021
- Summary: VARIOUS, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 12, 2021) (REUTERS) DRONE VIEWS OF KILOMETRES OF CHARRED BLACK HILLSIDES VARIOUS OF DRONE VIEWS OF BURNED BLACKENED HOMES, PROPERTIES AND BUILDINGS INSIDE VILLAGES ROVIES, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 12, 2021) (REUTERS) BURNED HOUSES AND TREES IN VILLAGE, VILLAGERS AND WORKER REPAIRING ELECTRICITY CABLES VARIOUS OF BURNED HOUSE VARIOUS OF RESIDENT COSTAS CONSTANTINIDIS IN HIS LAWN SHOWING THE DAMAGE TO HIS HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) RESIDENT, COSTAS CONSTANTINIDIS, SAYING: "My wife and I worked hard for many years to build this so we could enjoy it in our old age, and now, we must start again from the beginning." VARIOUS OF INTERIOR OF HOME GUTTED BY FIRE (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) COSTAS CONSTANTINIDIS, WEEPING, SAYING: "It's an unspeakable tragedy, unspeakable. It would have been worse if the kids were here, my grandchildren. This makes me content, that no one was here and human souls, human lives were not lost." ROVIES, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 11, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURNED STREET, TRUCK VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR OF HOUSE OF ANASTASIA, GUTTED BY FIRE, KITCHEN CROCKERY BROKEN AND BURNED ON THE FLOOR, FURNITURE BURNED (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ANASTASIA, UNEMPLOYED, 53 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "These are all our life's memories, all our life's efforts. I grew up here, with my mom. We had beehives, we were occupied with that the last few years. The olive trees burned, everything burned, Our dreams burned, our memories burned, everything, everything, Not even one photograph from my dad's home has been left." VOUTAS, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 11, 2021)(REUTERS) BURNED HOUSES IN FRONT OF BURNED HILLSIDE GRANDMOTHER SOTIRIA KALABOKA IN HER FRONT YARD KALABOKA LOOKING OUT OVER DAMAGE DISMAYED (SOUNDBITE) GRANDMOTHER, SOTIRIA KALABOKA, AGED 87, SAYING: "I am just a grandmother. From the beginning, the airplanes did not come to drop (water), to act. I don't want to criticize anyone but the truth is that they forgot about us." ROVIES (AUGUST 12, 2021) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF BURNED BUILDING CLOSE UP OF BURNED FRUITS ON BRANCHES BAKERY OWNER ZOI CHARASTI SHOWING DAMAGE TO HER BAKERY FRIDGES AND OVENS BURNED INTERIOR OF BAKERY, COUNTERS, EQUIPMENT, ETC. BURNED CAKES STILL IN PAN BLACKENED (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BAKERY OWNER, ZOI CHARASTI, AGED 55, SAYING: "Pain, sorrow, rage, anger, mixed feelings. When you build a business over 38 years and watch it turn to ash in half an hour there is no way to describe what I feel, certainly mainly rage. There is pain but mainly there is huge rage and anger. If they had allowed us to stay here, we believe we could have saved a lot." PEFKI, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 11, 2021) (REUTERS) BEACH WHERE THRASIVOULOS KOTZIAS HAS HIS CAFE AND BEACH CHAIRS AND UMBRELLAS VARIOUS OF THRASIVOULOS KOTZIAS AROUND HIS BEACH CHAIRS (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BEACH CAFE OWNER THRASYVOULOS KOTZIAS, 34 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "If this hadn't happened the beach would have been full with 10,000 people, and at the moment we are alone." PEFKI, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 9, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TOURIST LYING ON BEACH CHAIR UNDER BEACH UMBRELLA AS A FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER GATHERS WATER IN FRONT OF HIM IN THE SEA (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BEACH CAFE OWNER THRASYVOULOS KOTZIAS SAYING: "If they had brought the helicopters and the planes immediately and had stayed for six or seven hours straight, the fire would have been put out from the beginning on the first day." RODIES, EVIA, GREECE AUGUST 12, 2021 (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HOUSES AND CARS CHARRED AND BURNED IN VILLAGE
- Embargoed: 27th August 2021 15:47
- Keywords: Evia Greece businesses locals wildfires
- Location: ROVIES, EVIA, AND ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ROVIES, EVIA, AND ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Europe,Wildfires/Forest Fires,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001EQ45MBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Residents of the Greek seaside village of Rovies mourn a lost paradise of pristine pine forests and family homes, scorched by wildfires that burned for nine days.
But they are also angry as they start to see how little was salvaged.
The village at the foothills of a mountain, on the island of Evia northeast of Athens, had long been a popular retreat for Greek and foreign tourists, with locals also living off honey, resin and olive oil farming.
Wildfires have turned the forest and beehives into ashes and burned down about a dozen houses in Rovies, those on the outskirts, and dozens more across the island.
One of these homes belonged to 72-year old Costas Constantinidis, a former pastry cook.
"My wife and I worked hard for many years to build this so we could enjoy it in our old age, and now, we must start again from the beginning," Constantinidis said, in tears as he stood in front of his house, much of which was destroyed by flames.
In Rovies, as in other villages across the island, residents said the government failed to protect their homes and the forest.
"The truth is that they forgot about us," 87-year-old Sotiria Kalaboka said. "From the beginning, the airplanes did not come to drop (water), to act."
Thrasyvoulos Kotzias, a beach cafe owner in Pefki, points to his empty beach lounge chairs under umbrellas, saying they would have been fulll of tourists if not for the fires.
"If they had brought the helicopters and the planes immediately and had stayed for six or seven hours straight, the fire would have been put out from the beginning on the first day," he said.
"Everything burned. Our dreams burned, our memories burned, everything, everything. Not even one photograph from my dad's home is left," said fifty-three year old Anastasia as she stood in her gutted family home. She was making a small income from beehives and olive trees. All of that was now ashes.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has publicly apologised for delays in the firefighting effort and announced 500-million-euro ($587 million) relief package, while defending his government's action.
"I want to tell them that I completely understand what they feel, both the pain and the disappointment, and the desperation," he told a news conference on Thursday. "I want to tell them they will not be unassisted, the state will be close to them."
That appeared to offer little comfort to residents of Evia.
"What can they give me? A loan to pay off? How can I pay it off? With what?," said Anastasia.
Zoi Charasti, 55, owned a pastry shop in Rovies and had lived above the shop for the past 38 years. The wildfire burned a big part of her shop after police told her to evacuate. Pastry cakes could be seen blackened in their trays on the counter.
She was overwhelmed by sadness and anger when she returned to see what remained of her shop - burned mixers and ovens.
"We don't know what to expect now, and we had so much equipment that it is really difficult for us to buy it all again from the beginning, it requires a lot of money that we will not receive," she said. "When you build a business over 38 years and watch it turn to ash in half an hour there is no way to describe what I feel, certainly mainly rage."
(Production: Vassilis Triandafyllou, Leon Malherbe, Marco Trujillo, Deborah Kyvrikosaios)
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