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Greek farmers struggle to rebuild after devastating wildfires

Burned house in Greece
Burned house in Greece Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Ioannis Karagiorgas with Philip Andrew Churm
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Farmers in Greece who have lost their crops after the catastrophic wildfires say rebuilding their lives will take many years


The recent wildfires in Greece had terrible consequences for the environment and entire communities. Among those worst affected were people who made a living by growing crops and raising livestock.

Avanda, close to Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece was the first village to be evacuated and residents there faced a dramatic situation.

Giorgos Hatzigeorgiou is president of the Avanta Evros community.

"The area has three loggers' cooperatives and if we talk about the wider area, there are six loggers' cooperatives which, apart from managing the now burned wood for industrial use, in the coming years they will not be able to do what they have been doing for so long with the trade in wood for fuel," he explains.

"Out of the four livestock units we had in the area, 3 were completely destroyed."

Dimitris and Vassilis Adamidis are two young brothers who for the past seven years have taken over their grandfather's olive groves which have been located in Makri, Alexandroupoli since 1935.

The fire burned 98 per cent of their thousands of olive trees as well as valuable agricultural machinery and equipment, needed for the annual production of dozens of tons of olives.

Vassilis Adamidis outlined his history: "It all started with grandpa, the trees grew with him and then we came along with my brother as successors and found these things. It is dramatic, in the sense that so many years of work and toil disappeared in a few hours."

The major concern with olive trees is that it takes a very long time to produce fruit again after such a disaster.

"The truth is that it takes 1.5 to 2 years to get a picture of the tree's health. But as far as the part of fruition is concerned, we are talking about at least five to seven years or even 10 years in the worst-case scenario."

The worst-case scenario - the biggest nightmare for the producers in Evros has unfortunately come true. 

The labours of a lifetime, the labours of generations have been turned to ashes in a few hours and now these people will need to start again from scratch.

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