Dutch Royals express sympathy for victims of Greece forest fires

Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima released a statement expressing "enormous sympathy" to those affected by forest fires raging in Greece. So far the fires claimed 60 lives and left some 150 people injured. Whether any Dutch are among the victims is not yet clear, RTL Nieuws reports.

"The raging forest fires in Greece have claimed many victims. We feel enormous sympathy for the victims, their families and those who do not yet know the fate of their loved ones. We share their pain and our thoughts are with them", the Dutch Royals said.

The forest fires broke out around Athens on Monday evening. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras canceled a planned visit to Bosnia to deal with this disaster. He does not rule out that the fires were set by someone, according to RTL Nieuws. Tsipras announced three days of national mourning.

Greece asked the European Union's aid in dealing with the fires. "We are dealing with something completely asymmetrical", Tsipras said. Spain and Cyprus sent two firefighting aircraft, two large fire engines and a total of 64 rescue workers - firefighters and paramedics - to Greece. Israel also said that disaster teams are ready to help Greece if they are needed. And neighboring country Turkey said it is willing to send people and material to help in extinguishing the fires and with the rescue efforts.

So far the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs received no reports of Dutch needing help in the area affected by the fires. How many Dutch are currently in Greece is not known. A website was set up where Dutch can let their families know that they are safe.