Greek residents share stories of narrow escape from deadly wildfires | The Cube

Greek residents share stories of narrow escape from deadly wildfires | The Cube
Copyright Facebook/Giannis Labropoulos
By Rachael Kennedy
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Greek citizens share dramatic footage showing narrow escape from deadly wildfires


Hundreds of firefighters have been battling to control wildfires that have killed dozens of people in the region around Athens, Greece.

The following dramatic footage was captured by Greek citizen Giannis Labropoulos near the coastal town of Kineta, on the main highway between Patras and Athens.

"In less than a minute, we saw smoke covering the road," Labropoulos told Euronews. "And then all of a sudden, the fire really covered everything...I stopped the video in order to be able to see in front."

Labropoulos said he and his wife made it to safety, but she was "terrified" by the experience.

Hundreds of homes and vehicles were burned out around the town of Mati, a coastal resort around 30km from Athens, the fire completely destroyed the community in little more than an hour, according to witnesses.

 In the following post, photographer Giorgos Moutafis, who is in Mati, said, "most people we saw were trapped and died a tragic death in their cars."

The following album of photos, which were verified by Euronews, were posted to Facebook overnight and show people trying to flee the dense smoke and fires at the Taverna Argyra Akti in Nea Makri. It was close to here that the Red Cross was quoted in reports this morning as saying it had discovered two dozen bodies of people who had been killed in the fires.

Facebook user Vaso Savvaidou suggested the feeling of abandonment after citizens in Kineta tried to escape. "We've been burned and you do not come," she wrote. One of the pictures in her post shows people covering their faces with clothing or masks to avoid inhaling the smoke.

In the comments underneath the post, Savvaidou continued: "We lost everything. And we need oxygen and masks."

Other social media posts showed thick black smoke blanketing the sky over Greece's Attica region. The following video was captured in Rafina.

Regional authorities have declared a state of emergency, and Facebook has activated its crisis response option, which allows users to tell friends if they're safe and get information on the incident in their area.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Twitter authorities would do everything "humanly possible" to bring the fires under control.

Similarly, Tsipras' political party, Syriza, said its primary concern was to "deal with the disaster," and, therefore, was postponing radio and television debates for the next few hours.

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