60 people, at the time of publication, have died in the Attica region near Athens from wildfires. A further 100 people have been injured.
The village of Mati has experienced the worst fatality rate, with 26 bodies found around 30ft away from the beach. The president of the Greek Red Cross, Nikos Economopoulos, added that the scene was “shocking” and the “26 bodies were tightly huddled together in a field.”
Attica is a popular tourist region, which frequently experiences wildfires during summer time. However, officials have announced that the fires have been exasperated by arsonists who are seeking to rob houses, which has been supported by the fact that 15 fires have started simultaneously on three different fronts in Athens. The current wildfires are the worst to hit the area since 2007, where 84 people were killed in the southern Peloponnese peninsula.
Mayor Vangelis Bournos of the Rafina- Pikermi district declared that “more than a thousand buildings have been burned, [as well as 300 cars]. Fifty percent of the Kokkino Limanaki beaches have been burnt, Mati by ninety eight percent. We limited the damage, but couldn’t prevent it.” He expressed his concerns about the death toll rising, hoping that it won’t reach a “three digit number.”
Greece has appealed for urgent assistance from the EU, in the form of firefighters and helicopters. Italy, Germany, Poland and France have provided firefighters and helicopters, whilst Spain and Cyprus have volunteered their services.
Whilst the country waits for the fires to be extinguished, Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsiparis, has initiated a three-day period of national mourning, in honour of those who have been injured and have perished by the flames.