The tragedy of the fierce forest fires that affect Greece have claimed the lives of at least 74 people, according to the government of this European country, which is requesting international help to combat the flames.
According to the Red Cross, at least 25 people died in one place, a recreational village near where one of the fires started. It was one of the most dramatic moments that firefighters faced. The finding of a group of25 persons, between themSeveral children, calcined andembracedeach other in a field located between two housing complexes in the small town of Mati was more than tragic since they were just 30 meters from the sea, but they did not manage to arrive by the fast advance of the flames.
The Greek government asked other European countries to collaborate with additional helicopters and firefighters to be able to fight the fire. Countries like Italy, Germany, Poland and France sent aid in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters.
Mati tourist center
Most of the victims were trapped in the tourist resort of Mati, 40 kilometers northeast of Athens, and died in their homes or in their cars.
“They tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their children could not escape in time. Instinctively, seeing the end approaching, they hugged each other, ”commented Nikos Economopoulos, head of the Red Cross in Greece.
Some of the residents of the worst affected areas had to escape the flames by jumping into the sea.
“Fortunately the sea was there and we jumped, because the flames were chasing us to the water. They burned our backs and we submerged. I thought ‘My God, we have to run to save ourselves,’ said Kostas Laganos.
People who were in the area when the fire approached managed to save themselves by getting into the sea with boats. About 700 were rescued by the coast guard on the beaches near the port of Rafina.
Unfortunately, others drowned in the sea while trying to flee the fire, with winds that at that moment carried the flames towards the coast. A minor died when he fell against the rocks while trying to save himself from the fire by jumping into the sea from a cliff.
Mobilized rescue teams
Prime Minister Tsipras said that "all emergency forces have been mobilized" and declared the state of emergency in the region ofTOethics, near Athens.
But with the forecast of another rise in temperatures, emergency crews race against the clock to control the flames.
These fires are the worst to hit Greece since 2007, when dozens of people died on the Peloponnese peninsula and are one of the deadliest declared during the 21st century in Europe, after the fires in Portugal last year.
With information from: