Experts warn of more risks for fire-stricken areas of Greece

Experts warn of more risks for fire-stricken areas of Greece
By Mark Armstrong
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Climate expert says July's fires in Greece have created the risk of new environmental disasters


A leading climate expert in Greece says an area of the country devastated by wildfires last month is in danger of becoming a "paradise lost." Dozens of people died when flames swept through the Attica region.

Christos Zerefos, head of the Research Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology at the Academy of Athens, says the conditions created by the fires could lead to further natural disasters"

"There is always the possibility of flash this is another danger, and because of the very complex topography of the area and very inclined topography towards the sea, the waters can flash out from there abruptly"

Zerefos said a combination of environmental factors had created a perfect storm for the blaze to spread quickly and claim so many lives in what had been a lush, densely populated area. The thick pine trees that covered the area were highly flammable and grew too close to houses. Those trees are now gone, increasing the risk of flash flooding.

Zerefos said roads had to be rebuilt to provide safe access down to the sea and easy escape routes, and the bay cleared of obstructions. Authorities needed to be trained and to use modern technology for evacuation procedures, including alerts delivered from heat cameras to mobile phones.

He also warned that what he called "more frequent extreme weather phenomena", are set to become the norm in the future due to climate change.

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