Desperate Greeks Look to TV for Help

Fire victims appeal to broadcasters , not government, for help
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2007 11:17 AM CDT
Desperate Greeks Look to TV for Help
A firefighting helicopter flies by a hillside fire near the village of Thisoa, Peloponnese, Greece, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Athens, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007. Winds relented throughout Greece Wednesday, enabling thousands of firefighters to tame most of the massive fires that killed...   (Associated Press)

Desperate Greeks have resorted to calling TV stations with pleas for rescue from wildfires that have been raging for the past week, Der Spiegel reports, highlighting what one critic calls a "deep mistrust of the capability of the state machine." And the stations have gotten results: "Wherever we broadcast live links, helicopters would come and drop water," says one reporter.

As the government struggles to contain blazes that have killed at least 64 and destroyed half a million acres, TV stations have become the country's best crisis-coordination centers. "In the name of God and Mary, do something! We've been asking for help since Friday," one caller begged a station. "We are 40 people and we will burn." (Read more Greece stories.)

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