Death toll climbs to 88 from Greek wildfires

The aftermath of a wildfire is seen in Mati, Greece July 24, 2018 in this photo obtained from social media on July 27, 2018. (Aris Erdogdu/via Reuters)
Updated 28 July 2018

Death toll climbs to 88 from Greek wildfires

  • A woman has died in hospital taking the death toll from Greece’s worst wildfires to 88
  • The Health Ministry said a dozen other people remained in hospital with serious injuries

ATHENS: A woman has died in hospital taking the death toll from Greece’s worst wildfires to 88, many of them children, officials said Saturday.
The unnamed woman in her 40’s had been in hospital since fire ravaged the seaside village of Mati, east of the capital Athens, on Monday.
The Health Ministry said a dozen other people remained in hospital with serious injuries.
Forensics experts have faced a difficult task trying to identify the bodies of those who perished, many completely charred.
A private detective employed by one family which lost three children and their grandparents told reporters Friday night that nine year-old twins Sophia and Vassiliki had been identified.
They were found wrapped in the embrace of their grandparents among 26 bodies outside a villa near the sea at Mati.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Friday he assumed “political responsibility” for the tragedy as a bitter debate raged over who was to blame.
The opposition earlier accused the government of refusing to take responsibility after it said arson was suspected.
Officials citing information from satellite maps have said that 13 fires broke out Monday at the same time across the Attica region.
At a cabinet meeting broadcast live, Tsipras said he wanted “to assume completely before the great Greek people the political responsibility for this tragedy.”
“I believe that is what the prime minister and the government should do,” he added.
The government has come in for strong criticism over its response to the disaster despite a 40-million-euro relief fund.
Experts have said that a mix of poor urban planning, including a lack of proper access routes and the construction of too many buildings next to combustible forest areas, contributed to what were Europe’s worst wildfires this century.
The fires struck coastal villages popular with holidaymakers and burned with such ferocity that most people fled to the safety of the sea with just the clothes on their backs.


Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

Updated 18 November 2019

Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

  • The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters
  • Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate

SRINAGAR: An avalanche on Monday hit an Indian patrol in the world’s highest militarised zone in the Himalayas, killing four soldiers and two porters, an army spokesman said.
The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) that is claimed by India and rival Pakistan.
Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate in the region over the past three decades.
An Indian military spokesman told AFP that the avalanche engulfed eight people in the patrol at the northern end of the glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.
Rescue teams managed to dig the patrol members out of the snow, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital.
“Despite best efforts, six casualties which includes four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia,” said the spokesman, Col. Rajesh Kalia.
Avalanches are common on the 700-square-kilometer (270-square-mile) glacier, where temperatures regularly fall to minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).
In 2016, 10 Indian soldiers were buried and killed.
About 900 Indian soldiers alone have died on the glacier since 1984, when Indian forces took complete control of Siachen.
The glacier is located at the northern end of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over since 1947.

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