In what has been called the worst wildfires to affect Greece in decades have already killed at least 79 people with the number of casualties still expected to rise. So many dogs and cats have also lost their lives; some of the displaced pets tryied desperately to flee to safety.
Pegasus Animal Welfare, a non-profit rescue in Greece, has been posting photos of lost dogs and cats, hoping to reunite them with their families. Local residents have been donating food, bandages and medicine to help with the injured animals. Vets4Life shared images of injured animals brought to the shelter after they were rescued by volunteers. In a viral photo of a dog sitting on an isolated rock after escaping from the fires, it has been reported he was rescued and reunited with his family.
According to Metro News, Rafina and Mati, popular tourist destinations near Athens and Corinth, fires trapped many families as 50 mph winds quickly spread the raging flames on Monday and Tuesday. Hospitals have treated nearly 200 people with burn injuries. People rushed to the sea to be evacuated by navy vessels, fishing boats and yachts. More than 230 firefighters have been dispatched to help control the fire.
“It happened very fast. The fire was in the distance, then sparks from the fire reached us,” stated summer resident Nikos Stavrinidis, who had been working on summer home in preparation for a visit from his daughter.
The family swam out into the sea, became disoriented before they were rescued by a fishing boat, however two of their family members perished.
Animal rescue advocate Maria Tsucalas has been posting photos and information about some of the lost pets. Her heartbreaking description of the devastation brings tears to our eyes:
“Pray for Greece…..As you all have heard about the tragic fires that took lives of many people , children and many animals. Many pets were found burned to death- Many cats and many dogs…All different breeds- small and large mixed dogs- no end……Julia the German Shepherd and her family were trying to escape but she refused to leave her home and burned in the fire… many cats- kittens were found dead and many are looking for their owners and their owners are looking for them.. I have been up posting in groups sharing dogs and cats found and lost to many to try to reunite the owners who are frantically searching for them. The fires ENGULFED their homes -highway and they had no way out – many of the poor animals – dogs- cats- squirrels- turtles -deer etc burned to death…”
Greece has received help from the European Union; Spain sent aircraft, Cyprus sent firefighters, Israel, Turkey, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy and Germany also offered to help. The United States Ambassador in Athens Geoffry Pyatt stated the U.S. is “full engaged in support” of Greece following the devastating fires.
(Photos New England Helps Greek Strays, Facebook, Yahoo News screenshots)
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