Saturday, May 18 2024
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Fires in Greece rage after migrant tragedy near border

πυρκαγιες εμπρησμος ελλαδα
 
Fires that have claimed 20 lives in Greece are still burning out of control in foothills near Athens and the Evros region near the border with Turkey.
 
HDN Newsroom
 
Eighteen of those killed are thought to be refugees and migrants who crossed the border recently, hiding in forests north of the city of Alexandroupolis.
 
Greece has expressed its deepest sorrow for the deaths in the Dadia forest close to the Turkish border.
 
For five days, fires have burned near the city and west along the coast.
 
Firefighters are also trying to stop a fire spreading from the slopes of Mount Parnitha, to the north-west of Athens.
 
Their efforts are being hindered by strong winds whipping up the flames and searing heat of up to 40C (104F).
 
The victims were found on Tuesday by the fire service near a shack outside the village of Avantas, to the north of Alexandroupolis.
 
"Unfortunately, their stay in the Dadia forest proved fatal," said government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis, pointing out that the alarm had been raised in the area where they were found and evacuation messages had been sent on the mobile 112 emergency service.
 
Migrants and refugees trying to reach the European Union face many perils - being beaten, robbed, arrested, forced back across a border, or drowning in the Mediterranean. Now the risks also include a ring of fire in northern Greece.
 
Fire service spokesman Yiannis Artopios said there had been no reports of missing residents and it is widely assumed those who died had recently crossed Greece's long, snaking border with Turkey along the River Evros.
 
For many who are desperate to reach EU soil, the river is their gateway and the vast forest on the other side provides cover.
[BBC]