Emotional scars linger as clean-up begins in fire-stricken town of Mati

Emotional scars linger as clean-up begins in fire-stricken town of Mati
By Fay Doulgkeri in Mati
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Ghost town: emotional scars linger as clean-up begins in fire-stricken Greek resort of Mati.


A week ago, the town of Mati was a thriving holiday resort full of people enjoying their annual break.

Then the fires came, killing at least 91 people and reducing the town to ruins in a matter of hours.

But even as the hunt for the missing continues, the task of rebuilding has begun.

Trucks take away the rubble as emergency crews work to restore electricity and phone services.

And residents have been moved by the volunteers who have descended on the town.

One of the helpers, Theoharis Tziflidis, told Euronews: ''People help a lot. It is a sight that makes you really happy. Each one gives and does whatever he can. Some people may not have money or clothes to give, they give their hands to help, they carry and do whatever it is needed.''

But while their homes can be rebuilt, many will carry the scars for the rest of their lives.

Giannis Kolyvopoulos is the head of a team of the psychologists gathered in the local hospital of Rafina, ready to offer assistance and support.

''A lot of people are still in shock,'' he says. ''They are trying to understand what really happened to them when they come back to their houses and they see the damage in their properties. I can't even talk about the people that lost loved ones. They will of course need extra help and support.''

Even people whose houses were not destroyed by the fire are moving out of Mati. They say they do not want to live in a ghost town.

At the same time repair works are continuing fast, so that in the next few days the whole area will be connected to electricity.

The wounds that this tragedy caused though will not be so easily fixed.

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