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Deadly wildfires ravage coastal region near Athen, Greece

An aerial photo shows burnt houses and trees following a wildfire in Mati, east of Athens on July 25, 2018. (Photo: Antonis Nikolopoulos/Eurokinissi via AP)

Deadly wildfires ravage coastal region near Athens, killing dozens

Sorrow became tinged with anger in Greece on Thursday as rescuers searched scorched land and the coastline for survivors, three days after a wildfire destroyed a small town outside Athens and killed at least 83 people.

Desperate relatives appeared on television to plead for information on those missing, while other residents of Mati asked why authorities had been unable to prevent so many of their neighbors from getting trapped by a wall of flame in streets with no exit route.

With the toll from Greece’s deadliest wildfire in decades expected to rise further, about 300 firemen and volunteers combed the area for dozens still missing.

The cause of the fire is still unclear, and being investigated by an Athens prosecutor who is also reviewing the way it was handled.

Local officials said high and unpredictable winds would have rendered even the best-executed evacuation plan futile, though firefighters told Reuters that some water hydrants in the area were empty. (Reuters)

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