Europe heatwave: Greek fire rage after migrant tragedy near border
In Greece, 20 people have been killed by fires that have burned out of control in the foothills near Athens and the Evros region near the Turkish border.
It is believed that 18 of those killed were refugees and migrants who crossed the border recently, hiding in forests north of Alexandroupolis.
The Greek government has expressed its deepest sorrow over the deaths in the Dadia forest near the Turkish border.
There have been fires burning near the city and along the coast for five days.
Also, firefighters are fighting a fire spreading north-west of Athens from Mount Parnitha.
A strong wind whipping up the flames and searing heat of up to 40C (104F) are hampering their efforts.
On Tuesday, the fire service discovered the victims outside the village of Avantas, north of Alexandroupolis, near a shack.
They died in the Dadia forest, according to government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis, who pointed out that an alarm had been raised in the area where they were found, and evacuation messages had been sent via mobile 112 emergency service.
Migrants and refugees who try to reach the European Union face many dangers – being beaten, robbed, arrested, forced back across borders, or drowning in the Mediterranean. Northern Greece is now also at risk from a ring of fire.
Fire service spokesman Yiannis Artopios said there had been no reports of missing residents and it is widely assumed those who died had recently crossed Greece’s long, snaking border with Turkey along the River Evros.