Memorial service for Greece fire victims


Hundreds of people have attended a memorial service in Greece for the dozens who perished in a wildfire that devastated the area.

Funerals have begun for the 86 people who died when fires swept through the Greek seaside resort of Mati, near Athens, six days ago.

The number killed could continue to rise as the search for bodies continues.

Leading the service, Bishop Kyrillos said the community is mourning the loss of family, neighbours and friends.

Firefighters and volunteers try to extinguish flames during a wildfire at the village of Kineta, near Athens
Image: Firefighters and volunteers fought to extinguish the flames

In a message read out during the service, in what appeared to be a reference to the suspicion the fires were started deliberately, the Church’s Holy Synod urged everyone to avoid actions that could damage the environment.

Dozens of volunteer divers kept searching the sea off Mati on Sunday looking for the bodies of other possible fire victims.

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A video has emerged showing the moment terrified residents fled into the sea to escape the wall of flames that engulfed their homes.

Frightened men, women and children can be see standing shoulder-deep in the water, holding cat carrier boxes and backpacks aloft.

Hundreds fled into the water to try to survive the fire
Image: Hundreds fled into the water to try to survive the fire

A thick smog from the smoke hangs in the air, reducing visibility, and many can be seen holding clothes in front of their mouths to try and stop themselves inhaling fumes.

Hundreds fled into the sea on 23 July to escape the flames.

Not all were able to reach the water. The bodies of twin nine-year-old girls were reportedly found in the arms of their grandparents yards away from the sea.

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Minister Nikos Toskas told state broadcaster ERT it was impossible to evacuate the area’s 15,000 people in the 90 minutes that Monday’s blaze roared through the area.

The fire was the deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900, according to experts.

From – SkyNews