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Greek fires: Aerial images reveal devastation

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image copyrightAFP

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.

Mati

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

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.

image copyrightReuters

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.

image copyrightReuters

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."

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."

image copyrightAFP/GETTY

Rafina

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

image copyrightGetty 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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