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Greece on fire ! Forces residents to flee region

Death toll from Monday’s wildfires in the east and west coasts of the country’s Attica region rose to 50, officials said Tuesday.

The two fires injured more than 100, among them several children, and forced hundreds of Greek residents to abandon their homes.

Evangelos Bournos, mayor of Rafina-Pikermi, said 26 bodies were found on Tuesday, in beach resort of Mati, east of Athens.

The coastal region on the western side of Attica, Kineta — around 54 kilometers (34 miles) west of Athens — was evacuated as fires broke out Monday afternoon in the forest in the Geraneia Mountains that surround the area.

Several homes were destroyed by the flames, forcing residents to leave their properties behind, while others tried to save what they could using garden hoses.

A firefighting operation is underway with more than 600 firefighters and 300 engines striving to contain the flames, as the area is surrounded by pines, while Greece has asked for help from the European Union.

The other big fire on the northeast side of Attica has forced local authorities to evacuate summer camps while hundreds more people have left their homes.

The thick smoke enveloping the sky above Attica is visible from many areas in the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also called his Greek counterpart Nicos Kotzias and expressed his condolences for those who lost their lives, according to diplomatic sources.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restriction on speaking to the media, said Cavusoglu told Kotzias that Turkey is ready to help the rescue and aid efforts.

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