#GlobalNews: “Greece wildfires: Hugging our bodies discovered close to seashore as dying toll tops 50 – National ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada

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RAFINA, Greece – Wildfires raged by means of seaside resorts close to the Greek capital, torching houses, vehicles and forests and killing a minimum of 50 folks, authorities mentioned, elevating the dying toll Tuesday after discovering 26 our bodies believed to be relations huddled collectively, a few of them hugging.

Many vacationers and residents fled towards the shoreline to flee the ferocious flames and choking smoke. Authorities evacuated greater than 700 folks by sea in a single day, mentioned Merchant Marine deputy minister Nektarios Santorinios, whose ministry is in command of the coast guard.

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But some didn’t make it to the seashore. The head of Greece’s Red Cross, Nikos Oikonomopoulos, instructed Skai tv {that a} Red Cross rescue workforce reported discovering the 26 our bodies in a compound northeast of Athens. In all, the dying toll stood at 50 by Tuesday morning, authorities spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos mentioned.

“Everything happened in seconds,” mentioned Andreaas Passios, who lives subsequent to the compound. “I grabbed a beach towel. It saved my life. I soaked it, grabbed my wife and we ran to the sea.”

Passios mentioned he and his spouse stayed by the ocean for 2 hours: “It was unbelievable. Gas canisters were exploding. Burning pine cones were flying everywhere.”

When the flames died down, Spyros Hadjiandreou got here looking for family members.

“My niece and cousin were staying here on holiday. I don’t know if they made it out,” he mentioned. “I don’t know if they are OK. I haven’t heard from them.”

The two largest wildfires – one 30 kilometres (20 miles) northeast of Athens close to Rafina, the opposite 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital in Kineta – broke out Monday throughout sizzling, dry summer season situations. Fanned by gale-force winds that incessantly modified course, the flames unfold quickly into populated seaside cities – too quick for a lot of who had been of their vehicles or houses to flee, hearth division spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri mentioned.

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“The police tried to direct us away from the fire, but we couldn’t escape it,” mentioned Aleka Papariga, a former Greek Communist Party chief who lives close to Rafina. “We got stuck in traffic and the flames were on top of us. We managed to find a small gap and we made it out.”

Evangelos Bournous, the Rafina mayor, blamed the winds.

“We were unlucky,” he mentioned. “The wind changed and it came at us with such force that it razed the coastal area in minutes.”

Tzanakopoulos, the federal government spokesman, mentioned 715 folks had been evacuated from seashores and shoreline by navy vessels, yachts and fishing boats. The coast guard mentioned 19 folks had been rescued at sea, a few of whom had swum out to flee the flames.

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Rafina’s dock grew to become a makeshift hospital in the course of the night time as paramedics checked survivors, a few of them clad in solely their bathing fits, rising from coast guard vessels and personal boats. The hearth division mentioned 156 adults and 16 kids had been hospitalized with accidents. Eleven of the adults had been in severe situation.

In all, 47 brush and forest fires broke out throughout Greece Monday and early Tuesday, with most of them shortly extinguished, the fireplace division mentioned. Ten had been nonetheless burning late Tuesday morning, together with blazes in Corinth, Crete, and in central and northern Greece.

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More than 400 firefighters and volunteer firefighters had been battling the 2 fires close to Athens, supported by seven water-dropping helicopters and three plane.

Greece sought worldwide assist by means of the European Union. Spain was sending two firefighting plane whereas Cyprus was sending in 60 firefighters. Israel and Turkey each additionally supplied help.

It was the deadliest hearth season to hit Greece in additional than a decade. More than 60 folks had been killed in 2007 when big fires swept throughout the southern Peloponnese area.

“It’s a difficult night for Greece,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras mentioned late Monday after reducing quick a visit to Bosnia and returning to Athens.

Showers that handed over the Greek capital Monday missed the 2 huge fires, however heavy rain was forecast throughout southern Greece on Wednesday.

Forest fires are frequent in Greece in the course of the sizzling, dry summers, and temperatures lately hit highs as much as 40 levels Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Becatoros reported from Athens. Associated Press author Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki contributed to this report.

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-07-24 06:56:57, as ‘Greece wildfires: Hugging our bodies discovered close to seashore as dying toll tops 50 – National

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