Wildfires kill 49 people in Greece’s Attica region

At least 49 people have been killed by wildfires in the eastern part of Greece’s Attica region, near the city of Athens – the country’s worst fire crisis in more than a decade.

In the seaside village of Mati, located in the centre of the disaster, 26 bodies were found in a yard, the local mayor has said. Most of them are believed to be tourists who had tried to find refuge but did not make it.

The fire brigade confirmed an overall death toll of 49 following the fires, with many of the deceased believed to be young children. There have been many calls to emergency services regarding missing persons.

Hundreds of firefighters have been tackling the blaze, and Greece has appealed for international help. Italy, Germany, Poland and France have all sent help in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters, and Spain and Cyprus have also offered Greece assistance.

Pictures from the scene in Mati show lines of burnt-out cars and houses.

The wildfires swept through the town – located some 40km east of Athens – on Monday and was still burning in some areas on Tuesday morning.

Desperate families trying to reach the safety of the sea, just metres away, were trapped by walls of smoke and flame. Others died in buildings or cars. Coastal patrol boats and private vessels picked up hundreds of those who did manage to reach harbours or beaches.

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Categories: Europe, Greece, The Wire, World

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