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
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...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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."