Death toll from wildfire near Athens reaches 50

July 24, 2018 3:30 PM

ATHENS, July 24 (Xinhua) — The death toll from the wildfire which broke out in a small seaside resort near the Greek capital of Athens on Monday has increased to 50, official media reported Tuesday.
The number could rise in coming hours as local authorities have received several reports of missing persons, the country’s national news agency AMNA said.
The blaze swept through Mati, a town about 29 km east of Athens in the Rafina region, a popular tourist destination, which has also left more than 150 people injured, including 11 in intensive care, according to the Health Ministry.
Rescue teams found 26 bodies early Tuesday at Argira Akti in Mati, Mayor of Rafina-Pikermi Evangelos Bournous told AMNA, in addition to 24 victims confirmed earlier in the day by the Greek government.
The dead included a six-month-old baby, who died of smoke inhalation.
More than 100 houses were burned down in the flames.
Government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said earlier in a televised statement that 88 adults and 16 children were injured.
Almost 700 people who were stranded on the shores by the flames have been evacuated by dozens of Greek Coast Guard vessels and fishing boats, Deputy Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Nektarios Santorinios said Tuesday.
At least 72 people who attempted to escape the wildfires from the sea were saved by the Greek Navy, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said in a press briefing.
Local authorities have provided shelter for hundreds of people who fled the fire.
The wildfire in Mati town is the worst in Greece since 2007 when more than 80 people lost their lives in dozens of blazes across the country.
Local authorities have declared a state of emergency and the Greek government has issued an appeal for help to tackle the fire.
Cyprus and Spain are expected to provide fire engines and aircraft later in the day, Tzanakopoulos said.
In addition, the Defense Ministry has asked the United States to deploy an unmanned drone to monitor suspicious activities in the area.

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