Greece forest fires death toll hits 20

Flames continue to spread unchecked in northeastern Greece as well as islands of Evia and Kythnos and the region of Boeotia north of Athens Trump

ALEXANDROUPOLI - Eighteen suspected migrants were found dead Tuesday in a Greece forest fire near the Turkish border as scores of fire­fighters battled to contain the second deadly wave of blazes to hit the country in a month. Fire department spokesman Yi­annis Artopios said the victims were found north of the city of Alexandroupoli. As no local residents had been reported missing “the possibility that they are people who entered our country illegally is under investigation,” Artopios said in a televised address. The area is a frequent entry point for ir­regular migrants. 

The latest deaths pushed the overall toll from this week’s fires to 20, after another sus­pected migrant was found dead in the area Monday. 

An elderly shepherd had also been found dead north of Athens on Monday. 

Flames continued to spread unchecked in northeastern Greece as well as the islands of Evia and Kythnos and the region of Boeotia north of Athens, amid a dangerous mix of gale-force winds and tem­peratures of up to 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit). “It’s a similar situation to July,” a fire department spokeswoman told AFP, referring to a wave in several parts of the country that left five people dead. 

Over 60 fires had erupted in the last 24 hours, and six coun­tries were sending help via the European Union’s civil protec­tion mechanism, the fire de­partment said. 

Some 120 firefighters from Cyprus, Romania, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany and Serbia will pitch in, fire department spokesman Vas­silis Vathrakogiannis told state TV ERT. A new fire broke out Tuesday at a landfill in the in­dustrial zone of Aspropyrgos near Athens, covering the area in a noxious black cloud. 

Officials shut down the near­est section of the Athens ring road, and advised residents to stay indoors. 

Another fire broke out in the foothills of Mount Parnitha near the capitals, prompting evacuations. 

Late Monday, an evacuation was ordered at the hospital of Alexandroupolis, a northeast­ern Greek port city located in an area where fires were rag­ing for a fourth day. 

The coastguard said it had moved 65 patients to a waiting ferry at the city harbour. 

On the island of Evia, near the capital, officials late Mon­day evacuated the industrial town of Nea Artaki, where the fire has damaged poultry and pork farms. The fire near Alex­androupolis is also threatening the national park of Dadia, one of the most important protect­ed areas in Europe that is home to rare birds.  

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt