Greek Prime Minister Tsipras declared 3 days of national mourning as at least 79 were killed in the forest fires near Athens (UPDATED)
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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.

Fire service spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri said the death toll had increased by five to 79.

Earlier 

Wildfires raging through seaside resorts near the Greek capital have torched homes, cars and forests, killing at least 74 people.

Authorities say 26 of the dead were found huddled together in a compound. Other bodies were recovered from the sea, where victims had fled to escape the flames and smoke.

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The fires that broke out Monday were the deadliest to hit the country in decades. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of national mourning. Officials fear the death toll could rise further.

 

 

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AP: Macedonia has offered 6 million denars (about 100,000 euros) as urgent help for neighboring Greece to battle wildfires that killed dozens of people near Athens.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev posted Twitter on Tuesday that his government the funds will be available to Greek institutions responsible for dealing with fires.

AP: Pope Francis is praying for the dozens who died in Greece’s wildfires and offering encouragement to firefighters and rescue crews.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a telegram of condolences Tuesday to Greek public and church authorities after at least 74 were killed in the forest fires near Athens.

The note said the pope was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death and destruction “and extends his heartfelt solidarity to all those affected by this tragedy.”

The wildfires tore through seaside resorts near the Greek capital, torching homes, cars and forests. More than 180 people are being treated for injuries.

The EU stands with Greece as natural disaster rages

President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker wrote to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to express his sympathy and support after wildfires claimed the lives of more than 60 people and brought the country to a state of emergency.

“Everything possible will be done to provide support today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes,” said Mr Juncker in his letter and announced that he asked the Commissioner for Crisis Management and Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides, to remain at the Prime Minister’s disposal to assist in the rescue operations.

Mr Stylianides said that the EU stands with the Greek people in solidarity at this difficult time. He thanked Cyprus, Spain and Bulgaria who were first to offers help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism by mobilising planes, firefighters, medics and vehicles.

“Together we are working 24/7 to help the brave first responders and emergency services working tirelessly to help those in need,” said the Commissioner.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is offering her country’s help to fight the forest fires raging in Greece.

In a message of condolence sent to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, Merkel said that “in these difficult hours Germany stands firmly by the side of our Greek friends.”

She added: “You can be sure of our willingness to provide support in coping with the fire disaster.”

Wildfires raging through seaside resorts near Athens have killed at least 50 people.

Earlier:

The Guardian: At least 60 people have been killed, scores injured and more than 700 survivors rescued from the sea after a devastating wildfire swept through a small resort town near Athens, authorities in Greece have said.

Euronews/Greek Reporter Greece declared a state of emergency as a group of twenty-six people have been found dead after being trapped by wildfires near a Greek resort town, bringing the death toll in the area to 50.

The bodies were found near a restaurant on the coast, the mayor Rafina-Pikermioy, Vaggelis Bournous, said. Overnight authorities had counted twenty-four other victims of the inferno that engulfed the resort town of Mati and its surrounding area.More than 100 have been injured in the most devastating wildfires the country has suffered in more than a decade.

An aerial video of the aftermath of the wildfires that devastated parts of East Attica, leaving at least 50 people dead and over 1,000 houses burned, paints one of the darkest pictures in Greece’s history.

The video captures the stark, cruel reality of the aftermath of the blazes that destroyed the lives and properties of thousands of Greeks in a summer reminiscing the dark summer of 2007 when a similar catastrophe took place in the Ilia region in Peloponnese.

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