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Death toll rising in Greece’s wildfires

By August 28, 2007

Greece (MNN) — Greece
is under a state of emergency as wildfires continue to burn, scorching the
fringe around Athens.
Four separate wildfire fronts rage in southern Greece, fanned by gale-force winds
and heat, amid widespread speculation of arson.

According to government sources,
seven people have been charged with starting blazes deliberately or through
negligence. They are among 32 suspects
arrested since the fires began August 24.

The government may look at the
alleged arson as an act of terrorisma nd prosecute under Greece's anti-terror laws. Under those laws, authorities would
have broader powers of investigation and arrest. 

In the meantime, the villagers are
fighting desperately to keep their homes.
Historic monuments as of Monday afternoon have survived the
flames. Others are keeping an eye on the
situation and considering their plan of action, should they need one.

AMG International's Tasos
Ioannidis says for the moment, the Cosmo
Vision Center
and their other work in Athens
is safe. The Cosmo
Vision Center
serves as a base for the evangelistic effort in the region and the operation of
the only evangelical Christian school in Athens, which offers an excellent education based upon Christian principles.

"The concern now is that the
fire is not under control yet and that it is spreading", says Ioannidis. "It
is not directly affecting our co-workers there, but the concern is that it could
turn into some populated areas."   

There are many who have lost their
homes to the flames. Humanitarian aid is
in place by the government and other Non-Government Organizations who have
already sent supplies. 

In light of that, AMG is still
evaluating their aid response. In terms
of evangelistic interruption, Ioannidis says their teams could use prayer. "It has affected some of our work in the
Peloponnese where some of the major fires are.
We have some outreach there, so we have a lot of local believers who are
helping out there. It has not been a major disruption yet, but we are
monitoring it and seeing how things will go."

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