Devastating photos give a small insight into the colossal impact of wildfires currently raging near Greece’s capital.
Forest fires burning near Athens have seen at least 50 people killed, and over 100 injured. According to the , the two major fires have burned through pine forests east and west of the capital, with thousands of residents and tourists forced to flee.
Greek authorities declared a state of emergency on Monday, AP reports, after what’s been called the deadliest fire season to hit Greece in over a decade — in 2007, more than 60 people were killed due to fires in the southern Peloponnese region.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reportedly returned to Athens from Bosnia on Monday to meet with fire chiefs and government officials. Greece has also reportedly sought international assistance from the European Union. The Spanish government says it has sent two amphibious planes to help.
Forest fires are common in Greece during hot, dry summers, according to the news service, with temperatures in the country recently reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Strong winds have fanned the flames, which, since Monday, have raged through small seaside towns and villages like Rafina, Mati and Kineta.
More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters have been mobilised to tackle the “extremely difficult” situation due to those strong winds, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said in a press statement.
The fires have seen some trying to evacuate by fishing boats, navy vessels, and yachts, which has seen at least four people killed. Some major highways, like the National Road, have been closed or road-blocked.
It’s impossible to imagine this happening in your home town, but photographs of the villages, homes, and people affected will give you a fleeting insight into what people in Greece are going through right now.