Greece: Forest fires kill 44; PM declares state of emergency

greece fires 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
greece fires 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Greek prime minister declared a nationwide state of emergency Saturday, as massive forest fires sweeping across Greece killed at least 44 people and injured dozens more. "All regions of the country are declared in a state of emergency ... to stop this evil and to start repairing the destruction as soon as possible," Costas Karamanlis said in a televised address to the nation. Since Friday morning, more than 170 blazes have swept across the country, with the most devastating in the Peloponnese to the south. New fires broke out Saturday, and fears grew that the death toll could increase as rescue crews reached villages that had been cut off by walls of flames. The fires were so severe that authorities said they could not yet provide an estimate of how much damage they had caused, nor what expanse of land had been burned.