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Greece: Island's livelihood goes up in flames

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Greece: Island's livelihood goes up in flames


In critical times for Greece, livelihoods are being destroyed quite literally.

On the island of Chios, a wildfire, burning for five days, is much more than an environmental disaster. It is also an economic catastrophe.

The flames have consumed thousands of Mastic trees whose gum-like resin, used in cooking and cosmetics, is the mainstay of the local economy.

Five years after dozens died in massive Greek wildfires, some 20 major blazes have been raging. The country’s secret services are investigating whether arson is to blame.

Two French tourists, meanwhile, were detained on the Greek island of Andros, suspected of accidentally starting a fire.

Parts of the Balkans are also burning amid a heatwave. Weeks of wildfires in Bosnia are taking their toll on the tourist trade with holidaymakers fleeing a campsite at Boracko Lake near the southern town of Konjic.

“We are terrified of the fire and rocks falling down from the mountain, too,” said Aida Gakic from Sarajevo. “I have sent my children away and I only stayed behind to protect my holiday home.”

With temperatures at around 40 degrees celsius, heat exhaustion has also been a problem with some people needing medical attention.

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