x

Society

Rescue Crews Search for Missing in Greek Wildfires

July 25, 2018

MATI, Greece (AP) — Rescue crews were searching Wednesday through charred homes and cars for those still missing after the deadliest wildfires to hit Greece in decades decimated seaside areas near Athens, killing at least 79 people and sending thousands fleeing.

There was no official indication as to how many people might be missing, and some took to social media and Greek television stations with appeals for information on their loved ones. The death toll was expected to increase as crews searched more of the areas affected by the fires.

More than 280 firefighters were still in the area to the northeast of Athens in the wider Rafina area, dousing the remaining flames to prevent flare-ups. A further 200 firefighters backed up by a water-dropping helicopter were tackling the second forest fire west of the capital, near Agioi Theodori, where local authorities pre-emptively evacuated three nearby communities overnight, according to the fire department.

Flags across Greece were flying at half-staff after the prime minister declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

The two fires on either side of the Greek capital started Monday within hours of each other, and were fanned by gale-force winds that hampered firefighting efforts.

The speed with which the fire northeast of Athens spread took many by surprise, and is believed to have contributed to the high death toll.

“We couldn’t see any fire. The fire came suddenly. There was so much wind, we didn’t realize how it happened,” said Anna Kiriazova, 56, who survived with her husband by shutting themselves in their house instead of trying to flee through the flames.

Kiriazova said they doused their house in the Mati area near Rafina with water from a garden hose, and credited the fact that their window frames were metal instead of wood for their home being spared.

“We shut ourselves in the house, we closed the shutters, we had towels over our faces,” she told The Associated Press. “The inferno lasted about an hour. I have no words to describe what we lived through.”

Her 65-year-old husband, Theodoros Christopoulos, said the couple decided to take shelter in their home because the narrow roads outside were jammed with cars.

“There was a great panic because the whole street was blocked by cars,” Christopoulos said. “Shouting, hysteria, they could see the fire was coming with the wind. It already smelled a lot, the sky was black overhead and in no time at all the fire was here.”

Hundreds of others abandoned cars and fled to nearby beaches, from where they were evacuated hours later by coast guard and private boats. Dozens swam out to sea despite rough weather to escape the intense heat and choking smoke blanketing the area.

___

By COSTAS KANTOURIS and ELENA BECATOROS , Associated Press

Becatoros reported from Athens.

RELATED

ATHENS - Applications will open on Monday for staff ing 14,563 positions in the public sector through permanent or temporary transfers of already employed staff.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Camels a Common Sight for World Cup Visitors (Photos + Video)

DOHA, Qatar — Two weeks into the first World Cup in the Middle East, fewer teams are at the tournament and some fans are starting to make long journeys home.

NEW YORK — “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” kept the box-office crown for the fourth straight weekend, and the comic holiday thriller “Violent Night” debuted with $13.

Kylian Mbappé scored two goals and set up another for Olivier Giroud, giving France a 3-1 victory over Poland and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals on Sunday.

ATHENS - Once again this year, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) was festooned with thousands of festive lights, transforming it into a magical Christmas World, through an exclusive grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)! It all starts with a big celebration on Thursday, December 1 at 19:00.

NEW YORK — A man was wounded during an exchange of gunfire with New York City police officers in the Bronx, police said Sunday.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.