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22 May, 2024
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''We stopped the fire just 150 meters from the village''

Villagers band together to brave wildfire menace in the mountain communities of Limassol

Pavlos Neophytos

Throughout the night, residents of Apsiou and Iasias communities bravely stayed put, defying evacuation orders, and joined forces with the Forestry Department and Fire Department to battle the flames that were inching dangerously close to their homes. At a critical moment, they managed to halt the fire, mere meters away from disaster - 30 meters from Apaisia and 150 meters from Apsiou. However, the fight is not over, as small fire fronts continue to pose a threat between Apsiou and Fasoula.

Lefteris Pericles, the community leader of Apsiou, spoke to "K," recounting the superhuman efforts put forth by everyone involved. One house was saved by a miraculous three-meter margin. Pericles himself returned home at four in the morning after rallying fellow villagers to bring water to the firefront encompassing Paramytha, Apaisia, Apsiou, and Fasoula.

Despite the evacuation directive, residents quickly returned home as they were informed by Civil Defence that those who sought refuge in Limnati could safely return.

Marios Polycarpou, the community leader of Apsiou, shared his account of the intense night: "We heroically stopped the fire just 150 meters from the village. The joint efforts of the Forestry Department, Fire Department, and community residents were crucial. We tirelessly carried water until 3 AM. While the fire did reach the outskirts of the village and prompted the evacuation, we managed to halt its advance." Fortunately, no homes were lost, but agricultural warehouses outside the community fell victim to the blaze. Currently, they await aerial support to extinguish the remaining small fire fronts between Apsiou and Fasoula. The Civil Defence is yet to issue a directive for residents to return, so Polycarpou and local youths remain on standby, ready to assist in firefighting efforts.

As daybreak arrived, Community Councils and residents set out to inspect the extent of the damage to agricultural storehouses and crops. The situation remains tense as communities receive support from international aid to combat this relentless wildfire threat.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  fire

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