Greece is in the grip of wildfires and at least 74 persons have lost their lives while many more are injured. There is panic and tourists from the seaside village of Mati are fleeing towards the beaches and water. The fires are believed to be the worst in more than a decade and the situation is more serious as winds are fanning the flames.

CNN reports that the authorities arranged for boats to evacuate the people and hundreds of them have been rescued from the beaches and the sea. A few bodies have been retrieved from the water. The Greek fire service confirmed the death of 25 people close to Mati and it's presumed that they tried to escape from the fire.

The fire is massive

The present wildfires are worse than the one in August 2007 that had burned through the southern Peloponnese in Greece and took dozens of lives. Right now, the fires are burning in the Attica region which is home to the capital Athens, the port of Piraeus and a number of suburban towns. One of these is near the seaside resort village of Mati which attracts tourists and they have been hit hard. More than 150 people were injured in the blazes that are spreading due to strong winds. Greece is an attractive tourist destination and visitors who went to enjoy the country are now in danger.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was on a state visit to Bosnia and had to return due to the fire.

He has urged citizens to focus on survival and has declared three days of mourning. In his words - "the country is going through a tragedy," and the events are "unbearable for everyone."

Spain and Cyprus have offered assistance, while the United States and the Netherlands offered sympathy. Greece requested fellow members of the European Union to extend help to battle the blaze.

Incidentally, large portions of Europe have been facing high temperatures of above 90 degrees that have reached northern Scandinavia, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. This has resulted in wildfires in Sweden which had to request assistance from other nations like Italy.

Rescue efforts are on

According to the ABC News, the wildfires in Greece began in the evening near the capital of Athens and spread to destroy nearby properties.

American readers can relate to that, as California has faced wildfires in the past with loss of lives and properties.

There was no apparent threat to world-famous ruins near Athens and the people made a beeline for the beaches to be rescued by boats. The Coast Guard has rescued more than 700 but many drowned in the water, and many more lost their sense of direction.

There is a heat wave sweeping across Greece, with the temperature reaching 99 degrees for the second consecutive day. The Spanish government chipped in with two amphibious planes to help battle the blazes. The country’s Interior Minister, Panos Skourletis, described the wildfires as a "national tragedy" and a "biblical disaster with human losses."