The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday urged for urgent assistance for children caught up in wildfires in Greece, considered to be the worst Europe has seen since the turn of the century.
Fuelled by record temperatures and high winds, the deadly fires that began across the country in July have so far claimed 27 lives, including two children – both asylum seekers, according to news reports.
They were among 18 bodies discovered by Greek authorities on 22 August in the national forest of Dadia, in the northeast, reportedly all asylum seekers. A 19th body was found last Thursday.
Children have been among the hardest hit by the disaster, said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in the Mediterranean nation.
“They have lost their homes, families have lost their livelihoods, and some have lost their lives. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with all those affected and all those responding.”
Many children are also suffering health issues, especially due to the air pollution caused by the blaze.
UNICEF for its part is working with authorities and humanitarian partners to support children and their families, providing them with medical supplies, essential items and psychosocial support.