Over three million Brits visit Greece every year, but the Foreign Office have released an urgent warning to holidaymakers following a spate of deadly wildfires.
According to reports death tolls have reached 60, with villages on the Attican coast the worst affected, along with areas nearby the capital Athens.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warned British tourists that “the impact has been high, with significant loss of life.”
Despite the stark warning, the FCO highlighted that the wildfires had “been confined to limited areas and that most visits to Greece, including to Athens, are unaffected.”
Travellers visiting the affected areas should take the following steps, according to the government department:
- “Keep up to date with local media reports.”
- “Follow the advice of the Greek authorities in affected areas.”
- “If you’ve been affected by the wildfires and need consular assistance call the British Embassy in Athens on +30 210 7272 600.”
Those who are concerned about a loved one who has travelled to the area should call the FCO on 020 7008 1500.
Deadliest fires to hit Greece in a decade
The wildfires are the worst to hit the southeastern European country in over a decade with high winds fanning the flames through a number of holiday resorts.
The seaside village of Mati, situated on the popular Rafinia coast roughly 25 miles northeast of Athens, was devastated by the fires, with locals and tourists walled in by flames just metres from the sea.
Photographer Pantelis Saitas told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency of charred bodies being found 15 metres from the sea, while others claimed that some burned to death in cars and their own homes.
A rescue operation consisting of patrol boats and privately-owned vessels reportedly saved hundreds stranded at sea and ensured that the death toll wasn’t far higher.
“Mati doesn’t even exist as a settlement anymore,” one resident told Greece’s Skai TV. “I saw corpses, burned-out cars. I feel lucky to be alive.”
National Road closed
The National Road linking Athens with the Peloponnese was closed as a major fire raged near the seaside resort of Kineta.
The route is used daily by tens of thousands of Greeks and tourists visiting the vast peninsula.
Train services linking Athens with the Peloponnese have also been cancelled following the fires.