Four Egyptians have been killed in the worst wildfire on record to hit Cyprus, the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Sunday.
The Egyptian Embassy in Cyprus has been monitoring the developments in the incident, and is preparing to repatriate the bodies of the deceased Egyptians as soon as possible, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ministry has also extended its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the deceased.
At least eight villages were evacuated after the blaze broke out in the community of Arakapas on Saturday morning, with the fire spreading through a mountainous region near the cities of Limassol and Larnaca.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said it was a “very difficult day” for his country, as he announced that the “entire state apparatus” had been mobilised to fight the forest fires. He also noted that the fires have been fanned by strong winds after a week-long heatwave that saw temperatures pass 40°C.
Meanwhile, Cyprus’ Minister of Interior Nicos Nouris said that the four victims reported are believed to be Egyptian nationals, and were found close to the community of Odou.
“All indications point to it being the four persons who have been missing since yesterday,” he added.
Moreover, dozens of properties have been damaged, and there have been widespread power cuts across the country.
Firefighting planes have departed from Greece to help stop the fires, while Italy will send planes to assist, the EU Commission said.
Israel will also send firefighting planes to help, after Cyprus appealed for international help and activated the EU’s civil protection mechanism.
British forces have joined the efforts to stop the fires along with the Cypriot National Guard, the police, and the entire Cypriot Fire Department.
However the cause of the fire was unclear, the Cypriot police said, noting that they were questioning a 67-year-old person in connection with the blaze.