Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 76 people, officials said on Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats and on makeshift rafts,- NY Times reports.
In desperation, some people plunged into the Aegean waters and tried to swim to safety.
Gale-force winds topping 50 miles an hour have fanned a pair of fires that tore through seaside areas popular with travelers, leaving behind a trail of charred resorts, burned-out cars and smoldering farms, and wrapping the region in a pall of smoke. Officials said that at least 187 people were injured, including 23 children.
The country’s entire fleet of water-dropping aircraft was deployed on Monday, the military sent specially trained units for fire prevention patrols, and officials called on their partners in the European Union for help.
The extreme conditions are in line with patterns that scientists attribute to climate change. Heat waves can be linked to climate change in several ways: Increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hold more of the sun’s heat, raising temperatures globally. A hotter climate in turn changes the way air and ocean currents move around the planet, which can further increase temperatures in certain places, like the Mediterranean.