26 September 2021,   17:04
Greece fires: 150 houses destroyed by wildfires as monks refuse to leave stricken island

At least 150 houses have been destroyed by a raging fire that surrounded a monastery and a dozen villages on the Greek island of Evia, one of over 100 blazes burning in the country, writes The Guardian.

Firefighters were also continuing to battle a blaze near Athens, while the mayor of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, pleaded for help as flames threatened the site.

The blazes erupted as Greece is in the grip of a heatwave.

Three monks from Saint David Monastery had refused to leave, they added, but everyone had been evacuated from nearby villages.

“We’re suffocating due to the smoke”, - one of the monks told the ANA news agency by phone, describing flames 30 to 40 metres high surrounding the monastery.

Police told AFP they would force the monks to evacuate if their lives were in danger. Around 85 people gathered on a beach were evacuated on five boats.