Greece wildfires: Search for missing family members

Ayhan Mehmet  Anadolu Agency  Getty Images Burnt cars are seen following a wildfire at the village of Mati near Athens Greece

Officials believe that arson may have been to blame for the deadly infernos as it emerged 15 fires started simultaneously in the Athens area in a bid to "destabilise the country".

"I ran out like a insane person, got to the beach and put my head in the water".

It is also home to a large community of retirees, and, during school holidays, many young children arrive to spend time by the coast with their grandparents.

Ms Holohan, who works in advertising for the Sunday World, is in hospital after suffering burns to her head and hands, but her husband has not yet been found.

Commenting on the situation, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during an official visit in Bosnia: "We will do whatever is humanly possible to control it".

Searchers went house-to-house on Wednesday looking for more casualties in the aftermath of Monday's deadly wildfires near Athens.

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Now employers have an obligation to provide a "reasonable" temperature in the workplace, but there is no maximum limit. Forecasters were expecting the prolonged heatwave to continue with temperatures set to peak on Thursday and Friday.

Rafina's dock became a makeshift hospital overnight as paramedics checked the survivors, some clad in only their bathing suits, who emerged from coast guard vessels and private boats.

For two hours the group struggled to stay afloat, until salvation came in the form of a fishing boat and its Egyptian crew. Fanned by gale-force winds that frequently changed direction, the flames spread rapidly into populated seaside towns - too fast for many who were in their cars or homes to flee, fire department spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri said.

"It is frightful to see the person next to you drowning and not be able to help him", he said.

Local authorities said high and unpredictable winds would have made even the best-executed evacuation plan futile but firefighters told Reuters some water hydrants in the area were empty.

"Our thoughts go to Greece and the victims of the bad fires".

All told, more than 150 adults and 16 children were hospitalized at last count, with 10 fires still burning as of late Tuesday morning.

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Evangelos Bournous, the Rafina mayor, blamed the winds. It saved my life. The other ones that did not know how to swim, we do not know if they are there, if they are alive and what happened.

"They jumped into the sea with their clothes still on", he said.

The New York Times said that wildfires are an annual occurrence in Greece, but a drought and a recent heat wave, with temperatures over 100 degrees, have helped make this fire particularly unsafe.

"The 44th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece is overshadowed by this tragedy", Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli spoke with their Greek counterparts and offered Turkey's help.

It is hoped that heavy rain forecast across southern Greecewill boost the firefighting effort.

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