The balance sheet of the fires to the east of Athens was weighed down Tuesday evening to at least 74 deaths, while the country was reeling under the shock of the dastardly discoveries, especially that on the same area of 26 people charred to which “little children”. A hundred firefighters continued research of potential victims in this area of the Penthouse submerged in flames Monday night, and will continue to receive “dozens of calls” from people looking for loved ones, said the spokesman of the fire department Stavroula Maliri, which was revised up a previous track record of 60 dead.
In the seaside resort of Mati, with about forty miles to the east of Athens, 26 people charred have been found twined together in groups, “in a last-ditch attempt to protect themselves,” said a rescuer, Vassilis Andriopoulos. And this is without counting the carcasses of cars and animals charred found in this small city. “The problem is still lurking under the ashes,” observed the vice-president of the emergency services, Miltiadis Mylonas.
See also :the Tragic fires in Greece
The government has announced the arrival Wednesday of 308 engineers in the region to accelerate the inventory of the damage. These fires in Grècepourraient and exceed victims those who killed 77 people in 2007. According to the spokesperson, out of a total of 187 patients, 82 were treated Tuesday evening, including 10 adults under respiratory assistance, and 11 children whose state does not inspire anxiety. A Polish and his son are among the dead, according to Warsaw who has not given more details.
Three days of national mourning
The survivors have spent hours of anguish in a cloud of ash at the edge or in the water, waiting for rescue. At least six were drowned. Some 715 people were evacuated by military vessels or private up to the neighboring port of Rafina. Some survivors have had to make choices terrifying, like the man from the village of Kokkino Limanaki, forced to leave his mother, after having attempted to shelter in his car to save her children taken away on a motorcycle. “Today, Greece is in mourning,” said Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, announcing, in an address televised to the nation, three days of national mourning. The presidency has cancelled the festivities to commemorate on Tuesday the return of democracy in Greece in July 1974.
Officials and residents describe a deluge of flames that trapped the victims inside their homes, in their cars or at a few metres from the beaches that they were trying to reach. Is Mati, a city planted with pine trees, wind speeds over 100 km/h have allowed “a progression blazing fire in the urban fabric,” said Ms. Maliri. “Mati no longer exists”, launched by the mayor of Rafina, Evangelos Bournous, identifying “more than a thousand buildings and 300 cars” damaged. Authorities and volunteers organized to bring relief to disaster victims, with the collections and distributions of water, food and clothes, while the homeless were directed to hotels.
On Tuesday evening, in the area of Mati, “the fire evolved without front active, with homes scattered abroad”, according to the fire department. But another front has returned to the top of Kineta, to the west of Attica, where there has been a Monday damage, but no victims.
The country, which has activated the european civil protection mechanism, has been offered help -including aerial assets – by Spain, France, Israel, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal and Croatia, while messages of condolence poured in from abroad. “The european Commission will not spare its efforts to help Greece” has tweeted its president, Jean-Claude Juncker. “The pain of the victims affects us all,” said the German chancellor Angela Merkel in a telegram to Alexis Tsipras. The pope has made known its “deep sadness”, while the NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg expressed “solidarity” of the Alliance.
The government announced that it would take charge of the funeral services, and tax measures in support of the victims. And the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the causes of a fire. Before a controversy does not engage on the response of the State apparatus, the government has stressed having had to deal with a phenomenon of “extreme”, “asymmetric” according to Alexis Tsipras. The government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos noted that there had been “15 outbreaks of fire simultaneously on three different fronts” in the Attic. The United States has loaned a drone to fly over the Attic and “to observe and detect any suspicious activity,” he added. The fire started when a wave of heat descended on the country, with temperatures climbing up to 40 degrees Celsius, which, however, were dropped Tuesday.
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