We found ourselves in North Corfu, in the areas affected by the fire.
MdM-Greece visited the areas affected by the fire in North Corfu. A team of MdM-Greece rushed close to the fire victims, making home visits to the villages, assessing the health and psychosocial needs of those affected. The last few days have been among the most difficult for the island with thousands of residents facing health problems (respiratory, eye, injuries and burns) and villages evacuated.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mrs N., 85 years old, chanted as soon as she saw us on the doorstep of her house, which is located in a downhill, inaccessible spot in Loutses. In this village of 150 inhabitants, ten houses were destroyed. The population of the village, who are all elderly, had been without electricity since 25/07. Mrs N. lives alone and although her eyes have seen a lot, she told us, what she experienced was overwhelming. “I said, that’s it! I’m going to burn alive!” she says, shaking. Ms. N’s children are immigrants in another country and she lives in Loutses, with her little dog for company.
At first we didn’t really understand what happened, just the smelling fire… And without realizing how, I couldn’t even open the door to get out.The whole yard was on fire and the awning caught fire…. Holocaust!
Her little dog was barking outside in the yard and she was panicking as she listened to the television that Loutses were being evacuated. She could hear them struggling to put out the fire, then darkness…2 days, no food, no water.
As long as you are here
With a battery bulb that he was afraid to turn on, in case the battery ran out and he was left in total darkness. “I never saw such a thing, my girl,” she whispers, and breaks into sobs. “They came afterwards and helped me and my child” (her little dog). “I take my medicine, what can I do, I am an old woman. As long as you are here!” she says and hugs you tightly, adding “I was so scared.” “Come back again” she tells us, and we gave our promise.
We will come again, wherever people are in need, we will be there.
MdM-Greece provided services to a total of 41 adults, including citizens of the affected areas, firefighters, volunteers of the Municipality of North Corfu and tourists who were staying in the area during the fires.
In the region there is a lack of many medical specialties and specifically in specialties such as: pulmonologist, psychiatrist, cardiologist, pediatrician, otorhinolaryngologist, gynecologist and midwife. All these services are provided by private health centers, and residents who cannot travel to the city and the General Hospital “Agia Irini”, which is 1 hour away by car from Loutses are forced to pay to receive the required health services.
The MdM-Greece team met with institutional representatives of the local government and Civil Protection in order to identify the needs and provide support services to the communities of Acharavi, Kassiopi, Loutses and Palaia Perithia.
A large majority of the beneficiaries who received help from MdM-Greece had chronic diseases and conditions such as allergic bronchitis, chronic lung disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. While many individuals were experiencing manifestations of stress, anxiety and difficulty sleeping which occurred mainly after the first few days of the fire. Several cases found themselves out of their homes without the necessary medication due to the fires and so were supplied by the MdM-Greece team.
The majority of cases received psychological first aid, information and appropriate referrals. In the affected communities there is much uncertainty about the next day. Many citizens fear the situation that will develop in their area when the rains start. Much of the mountain is now devoid of trees and greenery so flooding is inevitable and the worry of yet another natural disaster is very acute, adding to their anxiety.