Wildfires burn forests in Alexandroupolis in north-eastern Greece  (AFP or licensors)

By Andrea Rego

Aug 24 2023

Bodies of 18 migrants were found in the Evros region of Greece that shares its borders with Turkey. The death toll rises to 20 as wildfires have ravaged several parts of Greece over a span of days.

After hundreds of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea in July and August, it has emerged that at least 18 migrants lost their lives in wildfires in north-eastern Greece which broke out in Alexandroupolis, a city in the Evros region.

Greece has been battling intense fires and new wildfires have broken out near capital city Athens.

The death toll rose to 20, after another suspected migrant was found dead in Evros on Monday and an elderly shepherd was found dead in the north of Athens in separate incidents.  

A “true tragedy”

The bodies of the 18 migrants were found on the border of Dadia forest in Greece’s Evros, known as “no man’s land” near the border with Turkey. Evros serves as a major crossing point for refugees and migrants who seek refuge in the forest.

The deceased were suspected to have crossed the border and tragically lost their lives in the wildfire that burned their shelters down.

Theodore Giannaros, a fire meteorologist and associate researcher at the National Observatory of Athens, called the 18 deaths a “true tragedy”. Activists across the world have heavily criticised the Greek refugee immigration Policy, especially since the boat tragedy at Pylos.

The activists call the death of “a dozen of uprooted fellow humans, found charred in Dadia Forest, a horrific multi-death crime”, destroying the Government’s justification that “protection of human life is at the core of planning”.

On another note, KEERFA, a humanitarian and anti-racism organisation in Greece, has called to protest against what it describes as the current situation stating “Government racism kills from Dadia to Pylos”.

Wildfires ravage Greece

On Tuesday, fires also broke out near Athens, burning homes and forcing residents to evacuate from regions near the foothills of Mount Parnitha on the city’s outskirts.

According to the Greek fire department “around 65 wildfires have broken out across Greece during the past few days, forcing the deployment of hundreds of firefighters.”

A report by the National Observatory of Athens claims that over 40,000 hectares were destroyed in wildfires in the span of three days, from August 19 to 21.

The Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection has issued a “very high fire risk” alert for several areas. According to meteorologists, very hot and dry conditions which increase the risk of wildfires will persist until Friday. – Vatican News