Greek ambassador calls devastating wildfires 'a national tragedy'
Dimitris Azemopoulos once rode his bike through the small town devastated by wildfires
The Greek ambassador to Canada says he used to ride his bike on the streets of the small resort town now devastated by wildfires, killing at least 81 people.
"It's not easy to describe my feelings, these are very hard feelings for everybody," said Dimitris Azemopoulos, whose family's summer home is in the village of Mati, about 30 kilometres east of downtown Athens.
"We used spend our summer there peacefully among ourselves. These are not places for tourists, these are places destined for Greek families."
Mati is the region hit hardest by the wildfires, which started Monday and lasted into Tuesday in some parts of the region.
The number of people dead remains uncertain as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
Hundreds of people have been displaced after their homes were destroyed in the fires, which swept quickly through the region.
The ambassador's cottage is still standing despite the scorching fires, he said Wednesday.
After an eight-year financial crisis, he said the country doesn't have enough resources to respond to these sorts of disasters.
Azemopoulos said the international community must work together to provide emergency relief for the people suffering.
"The bill is very heavy … the consequences have been so negative, it has been the worst fire in Greece with this kind of results, people paid with their lives," he said.
"If you consider how many lives were lost and and the way they were lost, it's a tragedy. It's a national tragedy."