Greece seeks survivors and answers after deadly wildfire

Greece seeks survivors and answers after deadly wildfire

Sorrow was giving way to anger in Greece on Thursday as rescuers searched scorched land and the coastline for survivors three days after a wildfire destroyed a village outside Athens killing at least 82 people, Reuters reports.

Desperate relatives appeared on television to plead for help. Some blamed authorities for the disaster, the country’s deadliest blaze in decades, as one official suggested the residents of Mati should have been evacuated earlier.

“This shouldn’t have happened, people perished for no reason,” a woman in tears shouted at Defence Minister Panos Kammenos as he visited the village and nearby fire-ravaged areas. “You left us at God’s mercy!”

With the death toll expected to rise, about 300 firemen and volunteers combed through the area looking for dozens still missing, who included nine-year-old twin sisters.

Others took to broadcast networks to appeal for information.

One woman said she was looking for her brother, who had been returning from work when the fire broke out. “My father was the last person to talk to him on Monday evening,” Katerina Hamilothori told Skai TV. “We have had no news at all.”

The cause of the fire is still unclear, and is being investigated by an Athens prosecutor who is also reviewing the way it was handled.

Local authorities said high and unpredictable winds would have made even the best-executed evacuation plan futile, but firefighters told Reuters that some water hydrants in the area were empty.

One theory being examined is that the blaze was started deliberately in three locations at the same time.

Outside the coroner’s service in Athens the mood was grim as people arrived to help identify their loved ones and submit evidence.

With most corpses badly charred, identification of the dead will be challenging, experts said.

“It will be very painful, we will then have the identification ... the funerals, more pain,” said Evangelos Bournous, the mayor of Rafina-Pikermi, an area close to Mati.

“I fear the number of the dead will increase.”

Donations in food, blood, medicine and clothes had exceeded all expectations, he said.

At least 187 people were injured in the blaze, including 22 children. They have all been identified, civil protection authorities said.

Initial inspections showed that more than 500 homes in the wider area were damaged, most of them beyond repair. More than 300 burned cars had been transferred to a yard in Rafina, to unblock the narrow roads that became death traps on Monday evening.

A long list of relief measures announced by the left-led government including a one-off 10,000 euro payment and a job in the public sector for victims’ spouses and near relatives, for many, not enough to ease the pain.

“A drop in the ocean,” read the front page of newspaper Ta Nea.

Mati, less than 30 km (17 miles) east of Athens, was popular with local tourists, including pensioners.

The fire broke out on Monday at 4:57 p.m. and spread rapidly through the village.

Firefighters described a rapid change in the direction of the wind which also picked up speed, while some suggested that, the thick covering of pine trees and a mood of panic was a deadly combination that would have been hard to combat.

“The main factor was the wind, its speed and its direction. It should have been looked at earlier,” said the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Greece director of Dimitris Karavellas.

“These people should have been ordered out of this area... This is the only thing that could have saved them.”

Iran exports over 1.4mn tons of round bar in 10 months
Iran exports over 1.4mn tons of round bar in 10 months
Iran's Health Minister expresses concern over spread of UK Coronavirus variant across country
Iran's Health Minister expresses concern over spread of UK Coronavirus variant across country
Iran plans to release held up commodities from customs
Iran plans to release held up commodities from customs
Loading Bars
Latest
Facebook to end ban on political ads in United States
Biden says it's a 'big mistake' for states to lift mask mandates
Covid protection measures vital due to unpredictability of its mutations — WHO
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 3.91 mln
CoronaVac efficacy above 83% after Phase 3 trials in Turkey
Karaganda region to build mega sheep farm
Iran exports over 1.4mn tons of round bar in 10 months
Georgia reaches preliminary agreement with Novavax
Bitcoin rises by over 10% surpassing $52,000
One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Romania
Czech Republic reports record breaking number of people hospitalized with COVID-19
WHO doesn’t recommend introducing Covid passports for now
Azerbaijan holds command training of troops of Nakhchivan garrison (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan reconstructs houses damaged during Second Karabakh War – Trend TV
Iran preparing for possible travel restrictions for Nowruz holiday
Iran's Health Minister expresses concern over spread of UK Coronavirus variant across country
Iran plans to release held up commodities from customs
Metallurgical production may increase in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's foreign trade balance with Israel remains positive in Jan. 2021
Venezuela always supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity - Ambassador
Azerbaijan, Pakistan discuss areas of military cooperation (VIDEO)
Bio-smart pavilion ready for integration with Smart City project network - Azerbaijan Innovation Agency
Georgia makes rapid progress on its commitments under Energy Community - Green for Growth Fund
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee develops new portal for visualizing customs statistics
'Uzbekistan GTL' plant receives fuel gas for first time
All deals with corporate securities in Azerbaijan fell on secondary market - BSE
Most transactions on state securities in Azerbaijan accounts for primary market
Azerbaijan plans to expand geography of wine export
U.S. private payrolls rise less than expected in February
Prosecutor's Office talks details of mine explosion accident in Aghdam
Loan portfolio of trade and services sector increases in Azerbaijan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price starts to rise in Iran
Azerbaijan announces net foreign assets of commercial banks for January
Croatian 'green energy' companies could contribute to dev't of Azerbaijani liberated lands
President Aliyev receives in video format delegation led by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan (PHOTO)
Next equipment from India will be brought to Iran’s Chabahar port
Silk Way Technics company has been keeping aircraft flying safely for 15 years
Turkmenistan has potential to benefit from future co-op with EU
Uzbek currency rates for March 4
Azerbaijani, Italian FMs discuss prospects for comprehensive development of relations
Iran plans to increase mushroom production and exports
Growth of trade turnover observed between Turkey and Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's experience of implementing 'smart' projects to be presented in Belarus
PayPal in talks to buy Israeli co Curv
Kazakhstan expects recovery of business activity in 1Q2021
Chief of Azerbaijani Aghdam's Irrigation Department heavily injured in mine explosion (PHOTO)
OPEC+ considers oil output roll over for April
Azerbaijani police officers find air defense systems left by Armenians in Fuzuli (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan's Home Credit and Finance Bank may face additional asset quality pressure
Iran's exports to Turkmenistan via railways increase
Turkish revenues from export of defense-related products grow
Turkey increases steel exports to Azerbaijan since early 2021
Turkey plans to increase trade turnover volume with Georgia
Hungarian Globalia Kft to support solar park creation in Kazakhstan
Significant number of people receive unemployment benefits in Georgia
Turkey attaches importance to Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey trilateral format of co-op - FM
Uzbek-Chinese JV to buy gas piston power station via tender
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank to continue to improve digital products
Fruits and vegetables make up majority of Azerbaijan's export of non-oil products since early 2021
EU to promote local entrepreneurship in Georgian Adjara
Georgia's Batumi sees decrease in real estate transactions
Number of apartment transactions down in Georgia's Tbilisi - Colliers International
Major Azerbaijani state companies' revenues from non-oil products' export up in Jan.2021
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Sales of Iranian mining companies soar
Moody's unveils current account balance in Azerbaijan's GDP for 2021
Uzbekistan’s economic activity index drops significantly
French Senate interested in strengthening bilateral co-op with Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan enters list of world’s largest cotton producers
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 3
Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor allows imports of apples, tomatoes from some Azerbaijani enterprises
Bosnian journalist talks parallel between genocides in Srebrenica and Azerbaijani Khojaly
Azerbaijan confirms 161 more COVID-19 recoveries
Approving FATF related bills in Iran's interest - Iranian President
No Mystery, Top American Pandemic Expert Lists 9 Govt Actions Behind Plummeting Covid Cases in India
Georgian VTB Bank to maintain adequate capitalization with RAC - S&P Global Ratings
Union of OIC News Agencies and ICD through THIQAH sign MoC to enhance cooperation in media field
Azerbaijan shares data on 2020 int'l cargo transportation by rail
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender for equipment repair
Georgian citizens can enter Turkey only if they have negative PCR test
Demand for notes of Azerbaijan's Central Bank surpasses supply
Moody’s says Azerbaijan’s economy to grow in 2021
Over 14 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India: Government
India's women scientists breaking barriers in space exploration
Number of Mastercard products and operations increases in Azerbaijan
Crucial lessons to be learnt from Covid-19 outbreak
India's oil demand set to hit record high as recovery from Covid sets in
UK To Receive 10 Million AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Doses From India: Report
Iran expects the US to take serious steps toward JCPOA
Biden appoints Indian-American Maju Varghese as Director of White House Military Office
India to invest $82 billion in port projects by 2035: PM Modi
Zarif announces mechanism of returning Iran's funds blocked in S.Korea
Indian Air Force arrives for participation in 70th SLAF Anniversary
Former Nepal PM thanks India for COVID-19 vaccines
India to deliver 1,000 metric tonnes rice, 1 lakh HCQ tablets to drought-hit Madagascar
Kazakhstan boosts locally-made goods export to Belgium
Development Bank of Kazakhstan expands support for renewable energy projects
Iran shares data on loaded and unloaded cargo at Noshahr port
Iran's Bandar Abbas Company attaches importance to domestic production of spare parts
Uzbekistan approves introduction of gender-responsive regulatory impact assessment system
All news