MATI, Greece – Firefighters in Greece increased the death toll from aand reported that on Sunday six people were missing after the deadliest forest fire in Europe in more than a century
Before the National Fire Brigade updated its official death toll, it stood at 86 when hundreds of mourners attended a Sunday morning service for the victims in the hardest-hit seaside village
The fire burned on the 23rd July without warning by the village Mati. A database of the Center for Disaster Research in Brussels shows that it is the most lethal forest fire event in Europe since 1
The Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church, Bishop Kyrillos, led the memorial service at the Assumption in Mati, a popular tourist resort. This was the place most hit by the fire that killed at least 86 people. Kyrillos said the church mourned the loss of family, neighbors and friends.
"There are fewer of us now than usual," the bishop said. "It's the victims of the recent fire that are missing – friends, relatives and acquaintances, neighbors we've seen every day in the city and on the street beach.
Maria Nikolaou, 74, started this week with the Tidying up after the fast fire burned down in their neighborhood, their car was gutted, and in a few minutes their entire neighborhood was consumed.
"Trees were falling everywhere, I was so scared," she told CBS News
Her son, Dimitris Gaveras, was worried that his mother would have died there had he not forced her to flee to the beach, "I took my mother by force," said he
Another resident said she barely managed to escape the fire that killed others in her cars and homes. "I came to pray for the people who were lost and I pray that God blesses us, "said Angeliki Galiatsatou.
Dozens of volunteer divers, including some retired Navy Seals, sought the bodies of more potential victims on Sunday in search of the ocean off Mati.
Greek authorities have stated that they have reason to believe that the fire resulted from arson and became so deadly because winds of up to 100 km / h struck the pine-forested seaside resorts. The time
The Greek government has also come under fire as to how buildings and roads have been constructed in the area and that it is reportedly lacking in preparation for the fire season. More than 2,000 houses were damaged in the fire and around a quarter had to be demolished, Greek officials said Friday.
The Holy Synod, consisting of all the Greek bishops, said in a letter read at Sunday's funeral service responsibility for protecting the environment from accidental development.
"What words of comfort can you offer to the person who lost her father, her mother, the grandparents in whose arms her grandchildren were found?" Kyrillos said. "What consolations can you give to a mother who has lost her baby and left some flowers on the beach?"
Seth Doane contributed to this report.
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