Death toll from Greek wildfire
reaches 91 as village grieves
MATI, Greece (AP) — Fire officials in Greece raised the death toll from a wildfire that raged through a coastal area east of Athens to 91 and reported that 25 people were missing Sunday, six days after Europe’s deadliest forest fire in more than a century.
Before the national fire service updated the official number of fatalities, it stood at 86 as hundreds of mourners attended a Sunday morning memorial service for the victims in the seaside village hardest-hit by the blaze.
The fire sped flames through the village of Mati, a popular resort spot, without warning on July 23. A database maintained by the Centre for the Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels shows it as the deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900.
The vast majority of victims died in the fire itself, though a number drowned in the sea while fleeing the flames. Until Sunday night, Greek officials had not provided a tally of the people reported missing.
Hellenic Fire Service spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri provided a breakdown that illustrated why the death toll continued to expand and the list of people thought to be missing was difficult to draw up with precision.
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe emerges,
rejects ruling party in election
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — In a surprise address to the nation after months of silence, Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe emerged just hours before Monday’s historic election declaring that “I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power” and turning his back on the ruling party he long controlled.
Slow and rambling, the 94-year-old Mugabe spoke to reporters on Sunday with bitterness about his dramatic removal in November under military pressure and amid a ruling party feud.
He was coy about endorsing anyone ahead of the election in which the former deputy that he fired, President Emmerson Mnangagawa, faces a 40-year-old lawyer and pastor, Nelson Chamisa. He indicated, however, that Chamisa was the only viable candidate.
“I cannot vote for those who have tormented me,” Mugabe said in a reference to Mnangagwa, who took office with the military’s support. “I cannot vote for ZANU-PF,” the ruling party that has rejected him as well.
Mugabe, who has backed a new political party that is part of a coalition supporting Chamisa, said of him: “He seems to be doing well at his rallies … I wish to meet him if he wins.”
And he added: “Whoever wins, we wish him well … And let us accept the verdict.”