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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 July 2018
2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 JULY 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greece in mourning as fire death toll rises to 80 A firefighter attending to the fire in the town of Mati. PHOTO: AAP VIA AP PHOTO/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS and counting The worst tragedy Greece has experienced in over a decade, the death toll continues to rise with 187 people injured – more than 20 of them children, and many still missing Residents react as they look at their burned house in Mati. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS Greece is in mourning following the worst fires the country has seen in over a decade, with the death toll standing at 84, with over 180 people injured, and many reported missing. The fires, which started on Monday in the mountains overlooking Kineta, located 54 kilometres west of Athens, saw a state of emergency declared, with locals advised by authorities to flee to safety. "Greece is in mourning," said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, declaring three days of mourn- ing. But the Greek PM was quick to remind people to try and stay strong during this difficult time. "We mustn't let mourning overwhelm us, because these hours are hours of battle, unity, courage, and above all, solidarity," he said. According to authorities, 26 of the casualties were found dead in the yard of a villa in Mati, 40 kilometres northeast of Athens, a mix of adults and children – "perhaps families, friends, or strangers, entwined in a last at- tempt to protect themselves as they tried to reach the sea," said rescuer Vassilis Andriopoulos. Meanwhile, other bodies were recovered from the sea. Hundreds of homes and cars have been destroyed, with 308 engineers due to arrive at the sites affected by the fires to assess the damage, according to government officials. "The problem is what is still hidden under the ashes," said vice-president of emergency services Miltiadis Mylonas. According to the mayor of nearby Rafina, Evangelos Bournous, the village of "Mati no longer exists", with winds of over 100 kilometres per hour resulting in the fire progressing rapidly through the village, while whipping fireballs into the sea, where hundreds of people were headed to escape the blazes. Around 715 people were evacuated by boats to Rafina, while 600 children were evacuated near the town of Marathon from holiday camps. "People are shocked, lost. Some of them have lost everything: children, parents, homes," said Red Cross spokesperson Georgia Trisbioti. While it is yet uncertain how the fires started, officials have said it is a possibility they were deliberately ignited, with supreme court prosecutors announcing an investigation into the causes. The challenges didn’t stop there. On Thursday, Attica experienced flash flooding, with the civil protection agency stating that the fire brigade respond- ed to 140 calls as a result. The hardest hit suburbs were Maroussi and Ekali with many of the calls coming from people trapped in their cars. GREEK AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITIES RALLY FOR THOSE DEVASTATED IN GREECE The Greek Australian community has been left stunned, observing the apocalyptic scenes unfolding in Greece. The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) has responded quickly, contacting Greek Dep- Turnbull: ‘A tragedy that affects Greece also affects Australia’ Australian politicians respond to the fires in Greece There has been an outpouring of empathy and message of hope to Greece from Australia's politicians during this difficult time in the aftermath of the fires. In an official statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that he was "deeply saddened to learn of the fires in Greece". NEOS KOSMOS Published since 1957 Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by ACM Printing, 126 Fairbank Road, Clayton South 3168. No. 6068 Contacts Reception Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Email: email@example.com Advertising Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.neoskosmos.com Letters Email: email@example.com NEOS KOSMOS - English Publisher: Editor-in-chief: Acting editors Journalists: Address: Level 1, 169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Subscriptions Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Letters should not be more than 200 words and they must indicate your full name, address and a daytime telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or other reasons and may, after the publication in the paper, republish it on the internet or in other media. Christopher Gogos Sotiris Hatzimanolis Nikos Fotakis, Anastasia Tsirtsakis Nelly Skoufatoglou, Eugenia Pavlopoulou, Zoe Thomaidou Contributors: Dean Kalimniou, George Stogiannou, Con Stamocostas, Alexandros Anifantis, Koraly Dimitriadis, Vangelis Tsonos Graphic design: Peter Kelidis, Thanos Pappas, Vangelis Karakasis Proofreader: Allyson Griffith Mail: PO Box 6068 Hawthorn West, Victoria 3122 "My thoughts and those of the Australian people are with the people of Greece at this tragic time," he said. Acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of Australians of Greek descent, Mr Turnbull said that "a tragedy that affects Greece also affects Australia". "Australia and Greece share a special relationship nurtured by strong family and community ties," the PM added. "In times like these, friends come together in support of one another. We know only too well the terrible impact these fires can have on communities and families. I have written to Prime Minister Tsipras sending our condolences and offering support. Australia stands ready to assist the people of Greece to respond to this disaster [...]." Federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten also offered his condolences and support for Greece in a statement Friday, saying “Our nation knows only too well the terrible toll that fires can inflict on homes and human life. We mourn for the dead and we offer our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost a loved one. Aιωνία η μνήμη.” Mr Shorten offered bipartisan support for any government efforts. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also recognised the connection between the two countries, with Melbourne being home to the third largest Greek population in the world. "Our hearts are breaking for the terrible tragedy in Greece, that's why the Victorian government has spoken with the Greek authorities and the commonwealth government around support and systems we can provide," he said. While he said authorities had informed them there was no need for firefighters, the premier was reassuring in offering Victoria's support, stating that "we stand ready to provide the support and the systems to the Greek government". Politicians of Greek decent also expressed their grief and support over the tragic events. In a heartfelt address, Victorian Minister for Families, Children, Early Childhood Education, and Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos MLC took to parliament to give her condolences to the victims. "These wildfires are now thought to be one of the worst fires Greece has experienced in over a decade, with dozens of homes destroyed, livestock and livelihoods. But perhaps the hardest figure to deal with, is that of lives already lost," she said. "The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of national mourning, but I know this pain and suffering will be felt for a long time to come.
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