'Unthinkable tragedy': What the raging Greece fires look like

'Unthinkable tragedy': What the raging Greece fires look like

A Reuters witness also saw several bodies in the area. Down by the sea there were children who did not have any shirts so we gave them T-shits to put on.

The number of victims appeared set to go even higher, with crews checking charred homes and vehicles and the coast guard scouring beaches and deeper waters.

There were fears the toll may rise further, as people remained unaccounted for.

A man holds his son as a wildfire burns in the town of Rafina, near Athens, July 23, 2018.

I nearly fainted at some point from all the smoke, and it was very hard, my friend, it was so hard.

The fires exploded Monday afternoon in the forests near the seaside towns outside Athens.

AFP photoA woman with a cast stands among cars burnt following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, on Tuesday.

Greece sought help in fighting the fires from the European Union. One is about 10 miles northeast of Athens near the coastal city of Nea Makri and the other is about 25 miles west of Athens at another city on the coast, Kineta.

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis said rescue workers were "still searching if there are more missing".

The U.S. Embassy in Athens - which issued alerts about the risky fires on Monday afternoon - says American fire experts are visiting Greece to meet with fire officials to discuss how U.S. agencies can help. Some 715 people were evacuated by boats to Rafina, the government said.

Evacuees were transferred to hotels and military camps, while anxious relatives flocked to the area.

The head of Greece's Red Cross, Nikos Oikonomopoulos, told Skai television a member of a Red Cross rescue team had told him the crew had found 26 bodies, apparently families, huddled tightly together, many of them hugging.

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"It's a hard night for Greece", Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after cutting short a trip to Bosnia and returning to Athens.

The EU's humanitarian crisis manager, Christos Stylianides, arrived in Athens on Tuesday to assist relief efforts.

Halil, an Egyptian, who has been living in Greece and working as a fisherman for two decades, said it was his second time dealing with a humanitarian disaster; the first was helping to rescue Syrian migrants after their flimsy boat capsized off the Greek island of Chios in 2015.

It was unclear what caused the fire, which spread rapidly through Mati, a maze of narrow streets and dense forest.

Prime Minister Tsipras declared a state of emergency in Attica, saying all emergency services had been mobilised.

An Irish national who was on honeymoon in Greece has been named as one of the missing.

"I took my mother by force", he told Doane.

Near the town of Marathon, residents fled to safety along the beach, while 600 children were evacuated from holiday camps in the area. A third fire started in Hania. "You should keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities in affected areas". He said more than 88 adults and 16 children were injured.

Çavuşoğlu said firefighting airplanes, helicopters ready to fly Greece if needed.

Fires are common in Greece in the summer months.

More than 60 people were killed in 2007 when huge fires swept across the southern Peloponnese region.

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