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Thousands flee in Greece as wildfires sweep through Mediterranean

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2021)

Thousands of people fled their homes on the outskirts of Athens on Friday as emergency crews struggled to stop wildfires from spreading to more towns while scorching winds fueled blazes across Greece for the fourth day.

Like elsewhere in Europe, Greece has been grappling with extreme weather this summer and a week-long heatwave – its worst in 30 years – has sparked simultaneous wildfires in many parts of the country, burning homes and killing animals as flames tear through thousands of acres of land.

There were 56 active fronts across Greece on Friday, from the Peloponnese to the island of Evia near the capital, where hundreds of people had to be evacuated by boat as flames burned through forestland to the shore.

“We are continuing our efforts, hour by hour, to tackle multiple fires today,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said, as authorities ordered the evacuation of more suburbs north of Athens, where wildfires on the foothills of Mount Parnitha burst back into life late on Thursday.

“Conditions are extremely dangerous,” he said.

The fire, which first broke out on Tuesday, burned around the main highway linking the capital to northern Greece and hundreds of firefighters with water-bombing aircraft were engaged in a “titanic effort” to prevent the flames reaching the nearby town of Marathon, Hardalias said.

“We might have to spend the night in the car if we don’t find a friend to host us,” said Yorgos, 26, who had to leave his home in the suburb of Polydendri.

In neighbouring Turkey, authorities are battling the country’s worst ever wildfires, and flames sweeping through its southwestern coastal regions forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. In Italy, hot winds fanned flames on the island of Sicily this week.

‘A CATASTROPHE’

Athenians were told to stay indoors again to avoid toxic fumes as the blaze, fuelled by winds and explosions on high-voltage power lines, sent a cloud of smoke over the capital.

Temperatures have been over 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) all week and no let up was expected on Friday with gale force winds expected to spread the flames further.

The Athens power grid operator announced staggered power cuts in the surrounding region to ensure there were no major outages in mainland Greece.

On Evia, coastguard vessels assisted by tourist boats have picked up 631 people since late Thursday from three beaches on the island, where the flames have burned through a vast area of pine forest since Tuesday and reached the sea.

The island’s deputy governor, George Kelaiditis, called it “the biggest catastrophe in Evia in 50 years,” with hundreds of damaged houses and thousands of acres of burned forest land.

In the Peloponnese, where firefighters saved Ancient Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games, from a raging fire this week, the flames left behind scorched earth and dead animals.

“A catastrophe,” said farmer Marinos Anastopoulos. “The fire came around midday with swirling winds and homes were burned, a lot of animals burned to death. Rabbits, sheep, dogs, everything.”

Joining firefighters from countries including France, Cyprus and Sweden, Israel said it was sending a team of 16 firefighters to Greece.

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Improved security boosts tourism in Shulgarh district in Balkh

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Local officials in Balkh province said this week that domestic tourism has improved substantially and that in the past month, about 30,000 visitors have visited the popular Khwaja Sekandar Springs in Shulgarh district.

Officials said that Balkh tourist attractions are drawing in large numbers of visitors amid improved security, especially visitors to the springs.

Balkh residents have welcomed the growing number of visitors to their province and said this was largely due to improved security.

“The difference is big, in the past there was insecurity, now because of the security of this place, people come a lot,” said Ghulam Yahya, a tourist.

Since the IEA took control of the country, provinces around the country are reporting an increase in domestic tourism due to the improved security situation.

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More than 1,000 infected with severe diarrhea outbreak in Takhar

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

The Takhar Department of Public Health says that in the past three days, more than 1,000 people have been infected with severe diarrhea in Takhar province.

The public health officials said that most of the people infected live in the remote areas of Bangi and Ishkamish districts.

According to these officials, mobile health teams have been sent to the area to prevent casualties and to curb the spread of this disease.

A number of non-governmental health institutions have also started working to prevent casualties caused by this disease.

However, residents of the province have stated that there are no health centers in many remote areas in the province and asked government to establish mobile health centers in these areas.

Poor hygiene habits, hot weather and also the use of unsafe water are said to be the reasons for the spread of this disease.

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Work starts on new road to ease traffic in Kabul city

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Kabul municipality officials said Saturday construction work on the new Wazir Akbar Khan to Sherpur road has started in order to reduce traffic congestion in the city center. 

Water culverts will also be included in the project that is being undertaken by the municipality’s Department of Work Maintenance and Monitoring of Kabul Municipality, Bakhtar reported.

The project, once completed, will cost 15 million Afghanis.

The new road will link Street 15 in Wazir Akbar Khan with Street 2 in Sherpur. Six properties along this section will be demolished to make way for the road.

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