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Greece and Jordan aid Cyprus in major forest fire battle

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Aircraft dispatched from Greece and Jordan are aiding Cyprus in its efforts to combat a significant forest fire that originated from an illegal landfill in the western part of the island, Cypriot authorities reported on Wednesday.

Wildfires frequently occur in Cyprus during the scorching summer months © Mena Today 

Aircraft dispatched from Greece and Jordan are aiding Cyprus in its efforts to combat a significant forest fire that originated from an illegal landfill in the western part of the island, Cypriot authorities reported on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on Tuesday east of the village of Giolou, triggering a national emergency plan. This plan led the Civil Defense to evacuate five threatened mountain villages. 

On Wednesday, two Royal Jordanian Air Force water bombers and two Greek planes were deployed to fight the blaze, according to the authorities. Fire chief Nicos Logginos told public radio on Wednesday that seven aircraft, including two Canadair planes from Greece, were flying over the active fire fronts. He noted that the rugged terrain made the affected area difficult to access and confirmed that police had evidence the fire started from an illegal landfill.

More than 300 personnel, including firefighter teams supported by bulldozers, are working to secure the fire's perimeter. Around 48 people evacuated from the fire zone have been accommodated in hotels, reported local daily Kathimerini Cyprus. 

Several homes have sustained significant damage or have been destroyed, according to fire service spokesperson Andreas Kettis, though the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined. Later on Wednesday, Kettis posted on X that "the fire was calming down" but that "the risk of resurgence remains present."

President Nikos Christodoulides returned earlier than planned from a humanitarian aid summit for the Gaza Strip in Jordan. 

During a meeting with King Abdullah II, he requested additional aerial support to combat the flames. The head of the community in a village near Giolou, Kyriakos Charalambous, expressed frustration to the official news agency CNA, stating that it took "too long" for the aerial firefighting units to arrive.

Wildfires frequently occur in Cyprus during the scorching summer months, exacerbated by a severe lack of rainfall. The Meteorological Department issued a yellow alert for Wednesday, with maximum temperatures expected to reach 41 degrees Celsius. 

Last Friday, Cyprus recorded its hottest June day ever, with temperatures reaching an unprecedented 44 degrees Celsius, the department reported.

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