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OREN, (Turkey): Turkish coastguards evacuated hundreds of villagers from a smouldering power plant Thursday and Greek firefighters battled a major blaze near the ancient Olympic site as a record heatwave wreaked havoc across Europe's southeast.

The two regional rivals have been united this week in their fight against disasters that officials and experts link to increasingly frequent and intense weather events caused by climate change.

Eight people have died and dozens have been hospitalised across the southern coasts of Turkey since the wildfires erupted last week. The blazes in Greece this week briefly cut off the main road leading to Athens and saw worrying fires break out in Olympia - the birthplace of the Olympic Games that is usually crowded with tourists - and on the eastern island of Evia.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on a visit to the archaeological ruins where the first Olympic Games were held that it was time to "conduct studies as quickly as possible to avoid further disasters".

The blazes forced also the government of North Macedonia to declare a 30-day state of emergency and the defence ministry in its Balkan neighbour Albania to declare the situation "critical" because of the threat to village homes.The fires killed one person in Albania this week.

But perhaps the biggest shock came when winds whipped up a flash fire that subsumed the grounds of an Aegean coast power plant in Turkey storing thousands of tonnes of coal. An AFP team saw fleeing villagers - some clutching pets they managed to grab from their homes - piling onto coastguard speedboats at the nearby port as roaring flames lapped the 35-year-old plant in the dark of night.

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