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Hearts melt as survivors gather to commemorate the victims of Athens wildfires

They were wearing white blouses and t-shirts and were holding flashlights. They wanted to symbolically light up the sky in the memory of the 96 people who lost their lives in the deadly wildfires of 23. July 2018.

The event to commemorate the dead but also to honor those who helped the people on that horrible night and those who helped later and still offer their assistance was held in Mati on Saturday evening.

With tears in their eyes the few hundred people heard the names of the victims read one by one.

A month after the tragedy, the memories are still fresh, the emotions high, the people still fragile.

“I came here to commemorate my neighbors who were lost in the fires and those whom I did not know,” a middle aged woman said.

“I still cannot understand why all these people had to die,” a young girl told media.

She is not the only one demanding answers to the torturing questions: How could this tragedy could happened? Why did 96 people had to die, what were the circumstances that cost the lives of all these people  just 30 km away from the Greek capital.

Survivors still struggle to forget the nightmarish experience, especially the children.

The local community struggles to stand on its feet to rebuild Mati and make it what it was before.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Cleaning work has not concluded yet.

Meanwhile, a Greek scientist has warned that residents and cleaning teams should wear protective masks due to the toxic substances released by the fire through the burned household appliances and vehicles. But also asbestos as majority of the houses were build in the 1970’s and 1980’s that is before the harmful substance was forbidden.

Professor for Atmospheric Physics Christos Zerefos said that the conditions in terms of harmful substances in the area would return to normal by November when the Autumn rains will have cleanse the atmosphere.

more pictures from the event here.

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