As divers search for more bodies, Greek fire survivors look to the future
Just off the shore from Mati, a group of divers is getting ready for an unusual dive.
A few days ago, the sea they are planning to explore was packed with fully dressed residents, some carrying their most precious belongings.
Not all of those who entered the sea to flee devastating wildfires returned to land.
Finding them is the mission of these volunteers. For years now, they have been at the forefront of some of worst tragedies in Greece.
But even then, Mania Bikov, the leader of the group, says the emotional toll is heavy.
“We have to go in the water every day and do the best we can,” he said. “And after when we go back home, then it’s the time that we have to think about our feelings. Now it’s a duty, this is the priority.”
These divers have been scanning the waters for nearly a week, but to no avail. The Greek coastguards, who perform the same mission, have so far found eight bodies. With the current, some had drifted several kilometres away from Mati.
Back on land, in Rafina, homeowners have started applying for a compensation scheme put in place by the government. For each house affected, 5000 euros will be granted. Most people say they are happy with the level of support.
“I honestly don’t have any complaints because I think I’ve received all the help that we can get here. And I am thankful honestly: food, people coming around, my neighbours, the volunteers, ” one resident, Farouk, told Euronews.
However, other homeowners said they were sceptical that the promised financial package would ever be delivered.
It will take time to rebuild the houses, the roads, the electricity, the sewage system…
But no matter how long it takes, for the people of Mati, their village will never be the same again.
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