Europe

Greek fires: Aerial images reveal devastation

Burnt area from the hills to the sea, Mati, Greece Image copyright AFP

Aerial images of scorched towns and villages have revealed the scale of the devastation caused by this week's deadly wildfires in Greece.

Flames tore through pine forests around Athens on Monday evening, killing at least 83 people. Many more are missing.

The fast-moving flames engulfed the homes of terrified residents and tourists, as well as those trying to flee in cars or on foot.

Burnt-out houses and vehicles can be seen across the east Atica towns and villages of Mati, Neos Voutzas and Rafina, with whole communities devastated.

A map produced by EU satellite service Copernicus reveals the devastation of residential areas.

Satellite image of Mati area shows extent of fire damage
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Mati

In the coastal village of Mati, one resident described the arrival of the fires as "a night of hell".

Interactive See how fire left trail of destruction in Mati, Greece

After

Cars destroyed by fires in Mati, Greece

Before

Google Street View image of Poseidonos Avenue

Many survivors were saved by fleeing to the sea, but a large number of the victims were trapped close to a cliff-edge, unable to reach the water.

Mati, an hour's drive east of Athens, is made up of small villas, popular among Greeks as a weekend getaway destination.

Aerial view of wildfire damage in Mati, Greece Image copyright Reuters

It is also home to a large community of retirees, and, during school holidays, many young children arrive to spend time by the coast with their grandparents.

Devastation in Mati, Greece Image copyright Reuters

Grandmother Sophia Tsaganou Profitou described driving at high speed around fallen burning tree branches to get her 88-year-old husband Yannis and her nine-year-old granddaughter Katerina to safety.

"It all happened so fast," she said. "No one warned us. Yannis told us to get our stuff but we didn't even have time for that, the flames were already here."

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Neos Voutzas

The swiftly advancing inferno also engulfed nearby Neos Voutzas, a village nestled among the rolling hills covered by pine trees.

Theofilaktos Logothetic described his escape: "The fire was chasing after us, whoever managed to leave in time, did so. The person who was right behind me when I drove to the main road did not make it, the fire took him and melted him."

Burnt house in Neos Voutzas, Greece Image copyright AFP/GETTY
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Rafina

The flames also reached Rafina, where residents fled to the sea to escape.

Damaged vehicles in Rafina, Greece Image copyright Getty Images

As volunteers now collect food and clothes for the survivors, the search goes on for many still missing since the night of the fire.

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