George Georgakopoulos GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

South of tragedy-stricken Rafina

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TAGS: Fires

We woke up on Tuesday morning to the smell of smoke here in Artemida, a few kilometers south of tragedy-stricken Rafina. The sun is pale and the sky is almost as smoky as it was last night.

The change in the wind’s direction from southerly on Monday night to northerly on Tuesday has carried the smoke south toward Athens's airport. Ash covers the ground, the trees and the cars, and residents are keeping their windows shut to stop the smoke and the ash from coming into their homes.

As the body count continues to rise in Rafina from the wildfire that started on Mount Penteli’s eastern slopes and swept its way to the east coast of Attica past the settlements of Neos Voutzas, Mati and Rafina’s Kokkino Limanaki, some people who sought refuge at sea did not manage to survive. Four dead bodies have already been recovered from the sea off Artemida, including one child.

For those familiar with the original Marathon course, from the 122-year-old Olympic discipline, the wildfire has cut through the thoroughfare from Marathon to Athens about halfway through, leaving behind it destruction akin to volcanic lava.

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