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Greek Prime Minister Tsipras visits the scene of the forest fire disaster



Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made his first visit on Monday to the area that had been hit by the country's worst forest fires, as anger at his government's response to the catastrophe that claimed many lives is increasing.

His journey, a week after the fires broke out, it was not previously announced in which local media was to avoid protests from residents of the heavily affected coastal communities east of Athens – Mati and Rafina.

Tsipras visited the area for an hour, his office said, meeting with local authorities, firefighters and army officials and volunteers amid fears that the death toll could exceed 100.

"We thank you for everything you do," said the PM Rescuers, some of whom have been mobilized for three days, found charred bodies, maintained security and working on dwindling hope to locate survivors [19659005] "Keep morale up," he told a fireman in recordings broadcast exclusively by state broadcaster ERT. "Drop the barbs on us, not you."

On his Twitter account, Tsipras said he had "boundless respect" for those who fought "against the odds" in the flames.

But his government has put forward criticism as residents are struggling to resume their lives with the help of authorities and volunteers.

The death toll rose to 91 on Sunday and another 25 people remain missing, but many may be among 28 victims whose bodies are being investigated by forensic pathologists (19659009) – "Like a thief" –

Conservative Conservatives The New Democracy on Monday said Tsipras had secretly searched the area "like a thief."

"Citizens are no longer influenced by PR tricks, they demand the truth about why so many lives have been wrongly lost," the party said.

The fires hit the coastal communities so popular with holidaymakers on July 23, with such violence that most people fled to the safety of the Sea with only the clothes on their backs.

Many then had to wait for several hours in the water for help, and it was local fishermen, not the Coast Guard or the Navy, who came to their aid.

Government officials have insisted that with wind speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour, little time remains for effective evacuation

Tsipras has stated he takes "political responsibility" for the tragedy as a bitter debate rages over who is at it is guilty. His political opponents say this is an empty gesture without his resignation.

The right-wing and centrist opposition accuse the government of muddling their reaction in an area ravaged by forest fires and trying to hide the extent of the loss of human life the disaster unfolded.

The government said there were indications that arson was involved and that an investigation had been initiated.

Experts have said that a mix of poor urban planning, including lack of proper access routes and the construction of too many buildings next to flammable forest areas contributed to Europe's worst forest fires in this century.

A vigil for the victims entitled "An apology for the dead" will be held on Monday in front of the Athens Parliament, organized by veteran basketball player Yiannis Gagaloudis

"(It is) a march with candles to the sky and to illuminate the souls of our fellow human beings, "wrote Gagaloudis on Facebook.

The wreck of a fire Car near the coastal town of Mati, east of Athens, after Greece's worst forest fires devastated the region

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he had "political responsibility" for the tragedy


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