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‘Greek fire death toll at 96’

By AFP - Aug 15,2018 - Last updated at Aug 15,2018

Firefighters look at rising flames during a wildfire near the village of Psahna, in Evia, Greece, on Sunday (Reuters photo)

ATHENS — The death toll from Greece's deadliest fire disaster rose to 96 after one more victim died in hospital, the fire brigade said early on Wednesday.

Reports said the latest casualty was a 68-year-old man, a day after a 63-year-old man died.

More than 20 people are still hospitalised after the July 23 wildfire in the coastal resort of Mati near Athens, several in critical condition.

Four senior officials including the minister responsible for the police and the heads of the police and fire brigade have been removed from their posts.

The government had insisted that with winds blowing at speeds of up to 120 kilometres an hour, there was little time to mount an effective evacuation.

It later emerged that the police had failed to properly seal off the area because the fire brigade had not alerted them to the location and size of the blaze.

As a result, many drivers were inadvertently diverted into Mati's narrow streets and trapped.

Residents fleeing the flames with just the clothes on their backs were also left unaided on the beaches for hours.

A judicial investigation into possible faults by state officials is under way.

The relatives of two people who perished in the fires have also sued the authorities for negligence and exposure to danger. More lawsuits are expected.

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