- On Tuesday, Greek officials announced that in the Evros region of the country — where wildfires are burning out of control — the bodies of 18 people have been found. The victims are believed to be asylum seekers.1
- Firefighters have worked for over a week to extinguish the blaze that now threatens the northwest areas of Athens. Their efforts to slow the spread have been delayed due to weather conditions. The victims were found by the fire service near Avantas.2
- Dimitris Kairidis, Greece's migration minister, noted the sadness of the tragedy but reiterated the "dangers of irregular immigration" while condemning the work of criminal trafficking networks that "endangers the lives of many migrants both on land and at sea every day."3
- The region is home to the Dadia Forest, an area near Greece's Turkish border. The location and dense forest cover provide a haven for migrants fleeing Syria and other countries in the area experiencing armed conflict; heat waves and dry conditions have resulted in wildfires that have been burning for more than a week.4
- Migrants traveling through the region face not only the danger of wildfires, but dangers including being beaten, robbed, arrested, drowned in the Mediterranean, or forced back across a border area.2
- Alarm Phone, an emergency service hotline for migrants in distress, reported receiving calls from groups of migrants trapped in the forest by the wildfires. The migrants expressed concern over the fires closing in but were equally or more concerned about being forced to return over the border.1
- Narrative A, as provided by Amnesty International. This shows a two-fold challenge. These asylum seekers are staring down climate change, which is worsening conditions and governments are doing absolutely nothing about it. Those only seeking a better life are also facing a lack of legal and safe routes to escape poverty and violence. If they are lucky enough to escape they enter countries like Greece they face being returned or deported back into danger.
- Narrative B, as provided by Euractiv. Anti-migration rhetoric by the Greek government is resulting in very real danger for migrants. Videos have surfaced of anti-migrant organizations making "citizen arrests" of migrants in the areas of the infernos and being blamed for setting Greece on fire. While those individuals have been arrested, these types of xenophobic incidents are a result of reckless rhetoric out of Athens.