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Greeks haunted by Mati fire Catastrophe, two Decades on

It is just two years because a blaze on Greece’s eastern shore grown into one of the biggest metropolitan wildfires in European history.

Memories of those 2018 Mati fires continue to be painfully raw for several locals seeking to reconstruct their lives.

“I moved through post-traumatic anxiety and that I think that today, gradually, I’m getting over it,” said neighborhood resident Aphrodite Hatzianastasiadi.

The passing of the initial days, when we needed to confront images of dead bodies, which you needed to see and coexist with because we never abandoned, left us to moan, and this atmosphere is still there.”

The fire, which began on the Penteli mountain, propagate quite quickly into the seaside towns of Mati and Kokkino Limanaki, east of Athens, killing 102 people.

Authorities stated illegal construction was partially to blame for the scale of this harm. Some residents had constructed houses between mountainous regions that cut off escape routes.

1 set of 26 individuals, adults and kids, expired locked in an embrace, once they had been surrounded by the fires and ran in the direction of the sea, but found themselves trapped close to the surface of a cliff.

Survivors could jump off the parts of the seas or rush to the sea on the shore, swimming farther from the coast to escape the smoke. Many were rescued by fishing boats, but a few ended up drowned and disoriented.

It’s still hard for most children to discuss the fires two decades back.

Lydia Kavalierou talked of her fear when she found herself stuck in the shore — where tens of thousands of people sought security — not knowing if her parents had been living.

“At the moment, we needed to become mature enough and depart our youth,” she explained.

The shifting landscape in the region and the yield of character have brought hope. But, recent allegations of corruption at the local fire department have reignited the anger.

“Our wounds are still bleeding,” said neighborhood resident and author Giorgos Spanos. “There’s still a great deal of pain, and a great deal of anger, towards everybody.

“All of the residents are cases of resilience, due to everything they went through, not just that afternoon, but through the weeks following the catastrophe,” he further added.