Greek wildfires death toll rises to 91

By AFP | Monday, Jul 30th 2018 at 09:42
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Experts say a mix of poor urban planning, including the construction of too many buildings next to combustible forest areas, contributed to Europe's worst wildfires this century. [Photo/AFP]

Greek fire services on Sunday said three more people were confirmed killed by the wildfires that have devastated seaside resorts near Athens, bringing the death toll in the disaster to 91.

Another 25 remain missing, said spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri, giving a precise figure for the first time after mounting criticism over the issue.

But some or all of the missing may be among 28 victims whose bodies are currently being examined by forensic pathologists and have not been identified, civil protection spokesman Spyros Georgiou told AFP.

Several children -- the total is not yet known -- have become the face of the tragedy, including nine-year-old twin girls, a six-month-old infant, a brother and sister aged 11 and 13, and another 13-year-old.

Four foreign victims have so far been identified including a young Irishman on his honeymoon, a Polish woman and her son, and a Belgian man whose daughter was rescued.

Finger-pointing over the authorities' handling of the crisis intensified on Sunday as the rightwing and centrist opposition accused the government of initially trying to hide the loss of human life.

The fire services on Sunday continued to probe the causes of the wildfires, with the government suspecting criminal origins.

The daily Kathimerini said that an initial report pointed to criminal negligence on the part of a resident who lit a bonfire of dead leaves and branches.

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