Thursday, 26 July 2018

Eighty five confirmed dead and more than 180 injured as wildfire destroys coastal village on Attica Peninsula, Greece.

Eighty five people have now been confirmed dead and over 180 have been injured after a wildfire swept through the village of Mati, to the east of Athens, on the Attica Peninsula, Greece, on Monday 23 July 2018. Most of those who perished were trapped when roads exciting the village became blocked by vehicles, while many of those who escaped did so by leaping from cliffs around the village into the sea. However, many people are still missing, and it is thought likely that some of these will have drowned while attempting to swim to safety.

Destruction left by a wildfire that swept through the village of Mati on the Attica Peninsula on Monday 23 July 2018. Reuters.

The fire is thought to have been compounded by extensive illegal building in the area, principally to let to tourists, which has led to streets being narrowed, enabling the fire to spread more quickly and hampering people's attempts to escape. However many residents of the village have blamed the Greek government for the disaster, claiming that an evacuation plan should have been put in place.

Burned out vehicles on a road exciting the Greek village of Mati that was destroyed by fire on Monday 23 July 2018. Many people died in their vehicles when they became caught in traffic and were overtaken by the flames. APP.

The exact cause of the fire is unclear, but the severity of the event appears to have been due to the exceptionally hot and dry weather the area had been suffering, which dried out vegetation around the village, combined with gale force winds on the day, which helped the fire to spread and kept it supplied with oxygen.

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