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Death toll mounts as Greek wildfires rage on

Firefighters try to contain the blaze outside Andritsena village in the Pelloponese. Photograph: Nikolas Giakoumidis/AP

Breaking Earth News Update

· Chaos as rescue teams rush to save villagers
· More than sixty now dead despite mass evacuation

Thousands of villagers fled their homes yesterday as the deadliest blazes in recorded Greek history continued to rage across much of the country.

Amid scenes of pandemonium, emergency teams backed by EU water-dropping planes rushed to rescue hundreds trapped in remote hamlets in the southern Peloponnese, the region worst hit by the fires, as flames lapped at the doors of their homes.

Choking on smoke, many wept as they were hauled to safety by helicopter, leaving behind landscapes that resembled a war zone: homes reduced to shells, the hulks of burnt-out cars and the countryside dotted with the charred remains of livestock.

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