4 people killed in a catastrophic bushfire in Cyprus

4 people killed in a catastrophic bushfire in Cyprus
4 people killed in a catastrophic bushfire in Cyprus

Four people were found dead on Sunday as a huge fire raged on its second day in Cyprus, destroying tracts of forest and burning dozens of homes in what the president described as the most powerful fire in history.

The fire, fueled by strong winds, has engulfed at least 10 settlements over 50 square kilometers (19 square miles) in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, where pine forests and dense bushes grow.

"This is one of the most devastating fires that we have experienced, unfortunately, with casualties," Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades told reporters while in the area. According to him, the state will support all victims.

This area is home to some of the most picturesque mountain villages in Cyprus. Eyewitnesses reported that the slopes of lush pine and orchards turned into smoking black stumps in the barren gray landscape.

"It will take them at least 10 years to grow again. How can we survive?" said 70-year-old farmer Andreas Costa, who cried when Anastasiadis tried to console him.


"Everything burned out," Costa told state television.

The victims were found dead near Odu, a mountainous community north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca. In a statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Cypriot authorities had informed him that the victims were Egyptians.

Witnesses said the victims were found a short distance from the car, which apparently crashed.

The EU's executive branch, the European Commission, said firefighting planes have taken off from Greece to fight the fire, and Italy is also planning to send aerial firefighters.

Israel has also pledged to help, and aircraft from British military bases in Cyprus have also contributed.

The Commission said in a statement that the EU satellite Copernicus was used to draw up damage assessment maps for the affected areas.

The cause of the fire, which began around noon on Saturday, remained unclear. Temperatures are high in Cyprus during the summer months, exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent days.

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