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Scores dead in Greece as wildfires engulf Attica region

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Scores dead in Greece as wildfires engulf Attica region

Scores dead in Greece as wildfires engulf Attica region
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Raging wildfires sweeping through the Greek resort region of Rafina in eastern Atticca have killed more than 70 people, officials said, with the death toll likely to rise.

Flames fanned by strong winds have devastated the village of Mati near Athens and there are fears that the number of dead will rise as it is not known yet how many people remain missing.

Fire fighters are still working round the clock to try to bring the blaze under control while rescuers search for the lost.

One eyewitness decribed the moment they realised they had to flee.

"We left at the last minute... Suddenly there was heavy smoke and very strong wind, we couldn't breathe, luckily my wife had brought towels and water and we managed to escape.

"There was panic, people were screaming for help."

Another, who only just managed to escape with his young baby as the flames engulfed the first floor of his home, said: "Suddenly I started hearing explosions. Glasses were breaking, containers of gas in kitchens and car deposits were exploding. By instinct I said to myself that this is it."

There was a lot of panic in the streets. When the fires first started, many decided to stay and try to save their properties but then they quickly understood that they had to leave urgently.

The fire spread quickly, devouring homes and cars.

"People were running in the streets screaming that they were burning, no one could save them," one person said.

There rescuers found the bodies of 26 adults and children, who had apparently hugged each other as they died, trapped just metres from the sea.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of national mourning.