Athens –Attica region in the state of emergency as residents forced to evacuate homes. The death toll from Monday’s wildfires in the east and west coasts of the country’s Attica region rose to 60, officials said Tuesday.
The two fires injured more than 170, among them at least 16 children, and forced hundreds of Greek residents to abandon their homes.
Evangelos Bournos, mayor of Rafina-Pikermi, said the death toll is likely to reach three-digits and nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed. He had earlier said that 26 bodies were found on Tuesday, in the beach resort of Mati, east of Athens. The coastal region on the western side of Attica, Kineta — around 54 kilometres (34 miles) west of Athens — was evacuated as fires broke out Monday afternoon in the forest in the Geraneia Mountains that surround the area.
Some casualties occurred when people were stuck in their homes or vehicles, while others drowned in the sea when they tried to escape from the flames.
Turkey offers help
A firefighting operation is underway with more than 600 firefighters and 300 engines striving to contain the flames, as the area is surrounded by pines, while Greece has asked for help from the European Union.
The other big fire on the northeast side of Attica has forced local authorities to evacuate summer camps while hundreds of more people have left their homes. The thick smoke enveloping the sky above Attica is visible from many areas in the region. The nation is mourning the lives lost and flags are flying at half-mast at the Greek parliament.
A state of emergency has been declared in some areas by Governor Rena Dourou.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has cut short his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina and returned to Athens.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called his Greek counterpart Nicos Kotzias and expressed his condolences for those who lost their lives, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restriction on speaking to the media, said Cavusoglu told Kotzias that Turkey is ready to help with rescue and aid efforts.
Source; Anadolu Agency