Greek wildfires toll rises to 79

Scores of locals and holidaymakers fled to the sea to try to escape the flames as they tore through towns near Athens stoked by 100-kilometre-per-hour wind gusts, devouring woodland and hundreds of buildings.

Greek wildfires toll rises to 79

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least 79 people died in huge wildfires around Athens, Greek authorities said Wednesday, as rescuers scoured scorched homes and burned-out cars for survivors of one of the deadliest fire outbreaks in Europe's modern history.

Greek media have described the disaster as a "national tragedy", while Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cut short a visit to Bosnia and announced three days of national mourning. 

The government has not yet said how many people are still missing from the fires, which broke out on Monday, as firefighters continue to battle blazes in some areas. 

Terrified residents and tourists were overtaken by the flames in homes, on foot or in their cars. AFP photographers saw the burnt bodies of people and dogs.

The charred bodies of 26 people, including small children, were discovered at a villa at the seaside resort of Mati, 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of Athens, rescuers said.

They were huddled together in small groups, "perhaps families, friends or strangers, entwined in a last attempt to protect themselves as they tried to reach the sea", said rescuer Vassilis Andriopoulos.

"Mati no longer exists," said the mayor of nearby Rafina, Evangelos Bournous, adding that more than a thousand buildings and 300 cars had been damaged. 

On Wednesday a blaze was threatening houses near the seaside town of Kineta, 25 kilometres west of Athens.

Last Mod: 25 Temmuz 2018, 11:51
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