Ashes and debris, four young people dead, houses and businesses burned, were left behind by the weekend fires and yet the devastation could be even greater. Even scarier. The majority of those who fought the fires on the front line were in danger. The threat was for the fire to enter the Macheira Forest, and then go out in the plains of Nicosia. It was not only the Macheras Forest, but all the communities in the area that were at risk.
This threat is described by the Director of the Forest Department, Charalambos Alexandrou, with statements to KYPE, while the Civil Defense Officer comments on what happened and what was threatened, as well as what should be done in such, avoidant, situations with statements to KYPE. Nikolas Paris and the Deputy Director of Civil Defense of Limassol Olivia Michailidou.
The Forest Department through the Director of Charalambos Alexandros sends the message that fires are dealt with where they can be dealt with and not as and when we want. For its part, the Civil Defense, according to the reports of the Civil Defense Officer, Nikola Paris, but also of the Deputy Director of Civil Defense of Limassol, Olivia Michailidou, note that the people should follow the instructions of the state services regarding the evacuation, and direction of evacuation, pointing out that emphasis should be placed not only on dealing with such incidents but especially on prevention and preparation.
The Director of the Forest Department, Charalambos Alexandrou, in his statements to KYPE, stated that today it was announced that the fire has been brought under full control. We continued, he said, with full force and with the same number of forces tasked with the task of extinguishing the fire during the night. He stressed last night, “there were less serious flares and tonight a final inspection of the area took place and we are able to announce the full control today.”
He stressed that the message must be sent, and it must be understood that fires are not a simple situation, which we deal with as and when we want, but fires are treated where they can be treated. The fire has completed, it has a dynamic evolution, and you can not extinguish it where you want, but you will extinguish it where the conditions allow.
It is not only that it is impossible to extinguish it at one point, he observed, adding that there is also the issue of safety of the personnel involved in extinguishing. Indicatively, Mr. Alexandrou stated that most of the force that entered the fire was in danger. He continued that what was threatened was that “the fire would enter the Macheira Forest, and then it would go out in the lowlands of Nicosia”, adding that the battle took place in the inaccessible areas between the areas of Oras and Lagia, Vavatsinia, Agioi Vavatsinia, to Farmaka and Sikopetra, in order to stop the fire “. As Mr. Alexandrou explained, it was not only the Macheras Forest, but all the communities in the area that were endangered.
The Director of the Forest Department expressed his sorrow for the four young people who lost their lives in the unprecedented fires in Cyprus. “I mourn the victims, I mourn the homes, I mourn the property, I mourn the life of the world and then I mourn the ecological catastrophe,” he said.
He added that fires are a matter of safety. Where fires break out, they are now a threat to human life, a threat to homes, to the wealth of the world, to its agricultural crops.
The Director of the Forest Department made it clear that planning should be treated as a safety issue. He pointed out that the Department of Forests, in terms of design, not only has implemented this design that had been prepared by the competent Committee, but also went three levels lower. Today, he continued, we have two planes, at the moment the arrival of the other two is in the works, while, he noted, plans have been made for four more planes.
Civil Defense Officer Nikolas Paris in his statements to KYPE, referring to the next day, said that the recording of the damages will be undertaken by the technical services of the Ministry of Interior together with the District Administrations, adding that the Civil Defense will take care of logistics issues. there are still housing and food needs for those affected. It will also be examined internally, he noted, “what we learned from the crisis and what could be done better”, adding that these are the two lines on which they will move today and what else the Ministry of Interior deems should undertake. As e.g. the cooperation with the Coordination Center of Volunteering that will operate today and will need the supervision and administrative support of the civil defense.
Mr. Nikolas Paris, sent the message that people should follow the instructions of the state services regarding the evacuation, the direction of the evacuation, noting that it is dangerous to try to save one's property on one's own, while the direction of public services because, as he said, the results can be tragic. This, he continued, is a message that will be transmitted as Civil Defense in various ways in the coming period, that is, that the suggestions of the competent services on the ground must be taken into account.
Asked about this, Mr. Nikola Paris said that the recent fires have left the Civil Defense in a mood to improve their internal processes and become even better, in terms of offering help to the world, but mainly the fact that they should Emphasis is placed not only on dealing with such incidents but mainly on prevention and preparation. He said that the cycle of a catastrophe is prevention, preparation, response and return to normalcy. Two phases in which special emphasis should be placed are prevention and preparation, he said. Finally he added that when we reach the response stage it is a bit late.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Civil Defense of Limassol, Olivia Michailidou, in her statements to KYPE, stated that they are in constant contact with the community authorities and in cooperation with the Commissioner for Civil Protection to provide all possible assistance to the victims, for those who need temporary accommodation. or food, clothing, footwear, and other necessities.
Asked about this, Ms. Michailidou said that the recent fires in the provinces of Limassol and Larnaca were the worst experiences. This huge fire, he said, “left behind four dead and great damage”, noting that “it was one of the most difficult experiences they have experienced”.
He also sent the message to the residents that when the competent services give instructions for evacuation, they should comply immediately. We understand he noted, “that it is not easy for anyone to leave their home, since the home for each of us is his refuge. The estate he works for is the toils of a lifetime. We understand that people feel that they should protect their property and save what they can, but we must know that the battle with the flames is unequal and that the fire moves uncontrollably and moves fast. He added that in these difficult cases, citizens should immediately comply with the instructions given to them and be transported to a safer place, since, as he explained, human life is paramount.
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