In Greece, more than forty people have been killed by forest fires raging across the country. Scores of fires have swept through the Peloponnese and other regions since Friday, trapping hundreds in villages.
The speed with which the blazes spread has caught many people and the authorities unaware. In an address to the nation, Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, declared a nationwide state of emergency.
He also suggested the fires were started deliberately saying so many fronts in so many locations could be no coincidence and promised the culprits would be found and punished.
Major fires have also attacked parts of Athens.
The armed forces have been mobilised to aid the efforts of the emergency services but they lack crucial material to help battle the fires.
A monastery was evacuated and the
main highway between Athens and its international airport blocked off when two forest fires broke out near the Greek
“The motorway has been shut down,” a fire department spokesman said. “Two firefighting planes, one helicopter and 20 fire engines are combating the fire.”
Officials said the unchecked fires on Mount Hymettus, east of Athens, had reached the outskirts of the city and houses were