Hospital in Alexandroupolis Evacuated as Intensifying Wildfire Sweeps Through Greece
As wildfires continue to rage uncontrollably for a fourth consecutive day near Alexandroupolis in north-eastern Greece, a hospital in the area has been evacuated, with dozens of patients being relocated.
The flames encroached upon the university hospital grounds, prompting the evacuation of patients, including newborns and those in intensive care. The evacuation involved transporting patients to a ferry docked at a nearby port. The ferry was converted into a makeshift hospital ward where patients, some connected to oxygen tanks, were placed on mattresses.
Additional tents were set up along the shoreline. The city of Alexandroupolis, near Greece’s northeastern border with Turkey, is grappling with severe wildfires, exacerbated by strong winds and temperatures expected to reach 39°C (102°F). The fires have also affected other areas in Greece, such as Evia Island and Boeotia in central Greece, leading to village evacuations.
Tragically, at least one fatality has occurred due to the fires near Alexandroupolis. The hospital evacuation was hindered by the flames entering the hospital grounds, causing smoke and ash to envelop the area. The explosion of oxygen bottles added to the chaos. Throughout the night, the outskirts of Alexandroupolis were illuminated by a fiery red glow, and satellite imagery revealed extensive smoke cover over multiple Greek regions.
While some patients were transferred to other local hospitals, around 90 patients were relocated to the Adamantios Korais ferry, which was repurposed to care for newborns and intensive care cases. Additionally, residents from neighboring villages were advised to evacuate to Alexandroupolis for safety. Fires have also affected areas northwest of the city, including Rhodope and Kavala. In a different region, warehouses near Athens were engulfed in flames, accompanied by dark smoke clouds.
Firefighting efforts have been bolstered by assistance from France, Cyprus, and Romania. This situation is emblematic of the intensified wildfire risk currently faced by Greece and other European countries due to climate change, as extreme weather events become more frequent and intense.
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