At least 60 dead, hundreds rescued in Greece wildfires

Friday, 27 Jul, 2018

The charred bodies of 26 people, including small children, were discovered in the courtyard of a villa at the seaside resort of Mati, 40km northeast of the capital, said rescuer Vassilis Andriopoulos. But the same people who are angry now, when the evacuation order would have been issued, they would have stayed back and tried to protect their houses.

A Reuters photographer saw at least four dead people on a narrow road clogged with cars heading to a beach.

Citing police, ERT television said that some 300 residents of several villages in east Attica were trapped in their homes by the fires.

Her home is surround by dry pine trees.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is also assisting other Irish people affected by the fires in Greece and has urged anyone travelling to the area to be vigilant and follow advice of local authorities. "Then the patrol boats came".

The inferno dominated front pages in the country on Tuesday, with headlines such as "killer fire" and "hell" and newspapers reporting fears the death toll would climb.

She said the toll was not yet final since firefighters were still searching for victims.

The cause of the fire is still unclear, and being investigated by an Athens prosecutor who is also reviewing the way it was handled.

Evangelos Bournous, the mayor of Rafina, blamed the winds.

A Greek national flag fluttered over the charred remains of a burned-out auto and house in Mati east of Athens, today.

Releasing a statement this morning, the families of Brian and Zoe said very little, other than confirming the death of their beloved family member. "It should have been looked at earlier", said World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Greece director Dimitris Karavellas. "In the smoke and the flames they became separated".

"It is bad to see the person next to you drowning and not being able to help him", Stavrinidis said, his voice breaking.

"People are shocked, lost".

Evangelos Bournos, the mayor of Rafina-Pikermi, said the death toll is likely to reach three figures, adding that almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

"It is a hard night for Greece", said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, looking pale after returning from a visit to Bosnia. He announced three days of national mourning.

Greece has also sought worldwide help through the European Union and Spain is sending two firefighting aircraft while Cyprus has sent in 60 firefighters. Turkey has joined Spain in offering to provide aid, including airplanes and helicopters, to Greece. "France and Europe express their solidarity with both Sweden and Greece and offer help", French President Emmanuel Macron said in tweets published in French and Greek.

Tsipras said "all emergency forces" have been mobilised to battle the fires.

A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens, on July 23, 2018.

Mati, 29 kilometres east of the capital, is a popular spot for Greek holiday-makers, particularly pensioners and children at camps.

One theory being examined is that the blaze was started deliberately in three locations at the same time. "I said my God, we must run to save ourselves". But as they swam further out, they found themselves in even more peril.

US military officials told The Associated Press Wednesday that they had been helping Greece gather images of the fire-ravaged areas with combat drones and Navy surveillance aircraft. Blazes in 2007 on the southern island of Evia claimed 77 lives.

Forecasters said conditions would remain challenging on Tuesday, although showers and falling temperatures were expected in Athens. He said the rapidly advancing fire terrified him.

In Finland's northernmost Lapland province, fires have ravaged woods and grassland close to the border with Russian Federation.