Over 70 dead in Greece due to wildfires

unsplash-logoMatt Howard | Unrelated to article

The latest European country to be hit by wildfires due to the current heatwave that is affecting Europe is Greece. 

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With Sweden still battling the forest fires with the help of other European countries, the focus is now going towards Greece, and to a lesser extent, Latvia.

Near a tourist resort close to Athens, the capital of Greece, wildfires have been burning over the past few days, spreading quickly through the area. The death toll kept rising as hours passed, currently putting it at over 74 dead and close to 200 injured. The warm weather and dry forests, combined with strong winds, helped the fire spread quickly, burning houses and trapping people in some areas, pushing them to the sea.

Some 500 firefighters participated in the operation to put out the fires quickly, but a lot of work still has to be done to put out all the fires entirely. The Greek government has approved 20 million euros for immediate help for the citizens of affected towns, as well as 3 days of mourning for the victims.

Greece asked the help of the European Union, with Spain sending two firefighting aircraft and Cyprus providing 64 firefighters and paramedics. Other countries such as Bulgaria (and even Turkey and Israel) also offered assistance. Romania and Italy also offered to provide air support.

Meanwhile, Latvia has also been dealing for the past week with forest fires, also requesting help from the European Union and Belarus. According to Latvian authorities, the EU cannot provide much support due to most resources already being used in Sweden and Greece, thus the need to request help from Belarus. Some 800 hectares of forest have been destroyed by the fires so far. 

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