The government has activated the ‘Hfaistos’ contingency plan given the critical situation with the Limassol and Larnaca district fires, said spokesman Marios Pelekanos.
The priority is to secure all lives, said President Anastasiades in a tweet on a massive blaze that has spread from Arakapas in the Limassol district to Ayioi Vavatsinia in Larnaca, where it still burning, destroying dozens of homes, (mostly in Arakapas-15 to17 estimated) cars and a large area of shrubbery, olive trees and forest.
Among the buildings destroyed was the Eptagonia regional fire service station.
Many homes burnt in Arakapas, while there was also damage to Eptagonia and Ora and less so in Melini. There were no reports of locals being in danger.
The extent of the damage will be established at first light tomorrow.
At least ten communities had been evacuated.
The immediate and urgent need is to safeguard the Machairas forest and a huge firefighting force is creating a firewall before the blaze spreads.
The fire is considered one of the worst in the past 20 years.
President Anastasiades said in his tweet:
‘A very difficult day for Cyprus. All state machinery is at hand. Our priority is to prevent the loss of life. We thank Greece and Israel for sending fire fighting aircrafts’.
Cyprus secured aircrafts from both Greece and Italy following a request to the EU firefighting emergency service.
Two aircrafts will arrive from Greece tomorrow-as well as aircrafts from Italy and four more from Israel.
President Anastasiades was monitoring the situation from an Emergency Operations Centre in Kofinou where the fire fighting effort is being coordinated. Also there was House Speaker Annita Dimitriou.
He then travelled on to the Vavatsinia coordination centre, near the fire fronts.
In case of urgent need, particularly directions to avoid the fire fronts or information on trapped people, you can call 24804373-24804374 for emergency assistance.
Drivers must avoid the following roads:
Odou-Melini, Lefkara-Vavatsinia, Parekklisia-Kellaki, Akrounta-Dierona, Xoirokitia-Vavla and Farmakas-Odou.