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Greece wildfires: mgr. Rossolatos (Athens) to SIR, “an inferno. Condolences and prayers for the victims”

“An inferno. It’s a massacre”. Mgr. Sebastianos Rossolatos, archbishop of Athens and president of the Greek Catholic Bishops, has no other words to comment on the wildfires that are ravaging the area north-east of Athens over these hours. 54 people, including children, have been killed so far, and the local media speak of a “dramatic situation, with thousands of evacuated people. Mati, a coastal resort in the Rafina region, about 40 km north-east of Athens, has been turned into ashes. Wildfires have destroyed at least 1,000 homes so far. Smoke has reached Athens and the Parthenon is wrapped in thick fog”. Another wildfire is ravaging a pinewood area 50 km west of Athens. The seven fire-fighting aircrafts and the four helicopters, along with the firemen, are unable to contain the fire. The Greek Government asked Europe for help. “The number of dead and injured people is increasing hour after hour. The intensity and extent of the fires – the archbishop of Athens, who is in Siros over these days but is in constant touch with the capital, says to SIR – might spark off a veritable massacre. Let’s pray for all those who have lost their lives, who have been wounded and left with nothing. I would like to send a special thought also to the many people who are doing all they can in the rescue operations, while risking their lives”. “These events – mgr. Rossolatos points out – must make us question ourselves about environmental respect, which involves following the rules as well. There can be no uncontrolled, unauthorised sprawl. The sources of such catastrophes – he concludes – can also be found in man’s indiscriminate actions”.

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