Wildfires kill 80, burns thousands of homes in Greece

ATHENS – At least 80 people have died in Greece following wildfires near Athens, and a search continues for survivors who fled the blaze, including those who escaped to sea by boat.

Rescuers are searching the sea and on land as they try to track down people who are still unaccounted for following the blazes that have destroyed thousands of homes.

The fire is thought to have been the deadliest on record in Greece.

There is no formal count of the missing. The fire brigade has received dozens of calls, but has been unable to verify the exact number.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of mourning, and a state of emergency in Attica, saying all emergency services have been mobilized.

Italy, Germany, Poland and France have all sent help in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters, while Spain, Turkey, and Cyprus have also offered assistance.

The government in Athens as well as emergency services have faced claims that their response to Monday’s emergency was too slow.

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A Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered a probe into the cause of the fire, amid allegations that there was no evacuation plan in place.

The seaside resort of Mati is popular with foreign tourists and locals, especially pensioners and children attending holiday camps.

Greek reports suggested that 1,500 homes had been damaged and many had been destroyed.