Greek wildfires: drone footage shows extent of devastation

Heavy downpours brought massive floods into Athens causing destruction in the city

Investigators probing the cause of a series of wildfires in Greece that killed at least 82 people this week have found "serious indications" the blazes near Athens were set deliberately, authorities said Thursday.

This general view shows the burned home of Greek film-maker Theo Angelopoulos in the village of Mati, near Athens on July 26, 2018. "In other words, cars became trapped and people abandoned them trying to flee going towards the sea". Germany's federal criminal police said a team of its forensics specialists was in Greece to help authorities identify the dead.

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos was heckled on Thursday as he visited the coastal region of Mati, where most of the fatalities occurred.

Fires near populated areas in Greece are often blamed on arsonists believed to be targeting forest land for development, but arrests are rare. Dozens more are missing.

A large number of the victims were caught close to the cliff as the flames spread rapidly, whipped up by winds as high as 120km/h (75mph).

Some 60 people are still being treated in hospital, 11 of them in intensive care.

"You let people burn for no reason". No one died in the Kineta fire.

Toskas also stressed that "climate conditions were extreme due to climate change".

Mr Kaman's, a combative figure who leads the nationalist Independent Greeks, rejected accusations that the government had failed to protect its citizens.

But he said the actions of some residents had closed the roads to the beach, he argued.

He said: "This is a crime from the past".

Floods came after raging wildfires caused chaos in Mati Greece
Floods came after raging wildfires caused chaos in Mati Greece

The "majority" of houses on the coast had been built without the proper licences, he said.

Raffia Mayor Evangelise Burnous said one in four houses had been completely destroyed by the fire, while 50 percent more were partially damaged.

After waiting for rain to put out the fires, heavy downpours on Thursday afternoon caused flash floods that stranded dozens of motorists and damaged dozens of cars.

Outside the coroner's service in Athens, the mood was grim as relatives of victims arrived to submit information and blood samples which could assist identifications.

It said that of the nearly 2,500 homes surveyed by experts after the fire, nearly half were now uninhabitable.

A volunteer arranges clothes for residents of areas that were struck by a wildfire in Nea Makri, near Athens, Greece, July 25, 2018.

The blaze broke out on Monday and hit coastal villages popular with tourists.

The region's mayor Evangelos Bournos told Greek radio on Friday that the emergency responders had inadvertently trapped residents by closing a main road near the fires.

Among those still missing are twin nine-year-old girls Vassiliki and Sofia Philippopoulou, who were with their grandparents near Mati at the time of the fire.

"After this tragedy I think it is the moment to understand that it´s risky for them and for their families to not follow the rules and the laws", the minister said. She said an olive grove and vegetable garden on the property were also burned. "I nearly fainted at some point from all the smoke, and it was very hard, my friend, it was so hard", he added. "Where could they be?" Where are they? They went somewhere.




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