Forest fires erupt uncontrolled in several places around Greek capital, destroying homes and disrupting transport links.
At least one person has been killed and 25 others injured in forest fires that raged around Greece’s capital, Athens, the Greek emergency services said.
Six of those injured were in serious condition, a senior official at the National Centre for Emergency Medical Services told state TV, as Monday’s fires damaged homes, disrupted major transport links and sent people fleeing for their lives.
Meanwhile, Greece’s coastguard said a search-and-rescue operation was under way for 10 people, believed to be foreign tourists, who fled a massive forest fire in a boat and were missing.
Earlier, authorities declared a state of emergency in two areas near Athens and said Greece would call on the European Union for assistance.
A coast guard helicopter and vessel were searching the sea near the town of Rafina, northeast of the Greek capital of Athens.
The first blaze broke out in a forest near the coastal settlement of Kineta, some 55km west of the capital.
Residents were urged to abandon their homes as the ferocious fire closed one of Greece’s busiest motorways, shut train services and sent plumes of smoke over the capital.
Later in the late afternoon, a large fire also erupted north and east of Athens. A local mayor said he saw at least 100 homes and 200 cars engulfed in flames.
“People should leave, close up their homes and just leave. People cannot tolerate so much smoke for so many hours,” said Achilleas Tzouvaras, a senior fire chief, appalling to people to leave the area after some tried to stay put in their properties.
“This is an extreme situation.”