June 13, 2024
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BY ELENA BECATOROS

ATHENS GREECE (AP)… Widespread flooding has caused at least 6 deaths, 6 missing people and dozens who are trapped. Rainstorms fanned torrents that ruptured dams washed out roads and bridges threw vehicles in the sea and left areas with no power and drinking water.

In neighboring Bulgaria as well as Turkey, rainstorms caused flooding. Turkish rescuers recovered on Thursday the body a missing 53-yearold man. Floods had washed away bungalows at a camp near Bulgarian border. With the recovery, the death count in Turkey has now reached eight. The total in the three countries is 18 since rains started on Tuesday.

Divers and rapid water rescue specialists were deployed in Greece as some residents took refuge on roofs, escaping floodwaters which rose more than 6 feet (2 meters).

A fire department spokesperson said that 110 individuals, including a newborn baby, and a single dog were evacuated by air in ten different helicopters. Those evacuated from rooftops told the local media that they spent much of Thursday night, and even some of Friday morning on their roofs. They had no food or water. The authorities reported that earlier, due to the frequent lightning strikes, helicopters had been unable fly.

Three villages were totally cut off in Karditsa as well as the nearby Trikala region by floodwaters. Residents dialed radio stations in order to alert them of their collapsed homes and request rescue.

Further east, 200 people, among them several tourists from abroad, were evacuated on the sea by areas below Mount Pilion which were inaccessible due to land erosion or rockfalls.

In a Karditsa-area village, on Friday morning the Fire Service reported discovering the bodies of 2 women. Six people have died in total since Tuesday as a result of the flooding.

Vassilis kikilias (Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil protection in Greece) said that efforts to rescue people would go on all night.

He added that “rescuers using boats and every other possible means” will continue to go from house to house in villages cut off, to rescue and evacuate trapped people.

According to him, the military and civil protection will provide more than 3000 meals and bottles of water for 24 villages located in Karditsa or Trikala.

Fire service officials said that so far nearly 1,800 persons have been rescued and six are still missing. Military said that more than 25 boats had been deployed to save people who were trapped by floodwaters.

Pavlos Marinakis, Greek Government Spokesman said: “Our country is dealing, for the 3rd day, with a phenomena that we have never seen before.” He added that some regions received over twice the average annual rainfall in Athens within 12 hours.

Marinakis said that at this time, the State’s highest priority is to protect the critical infrastructure and rescue people who have been affected by severe weather.

Vasilis Vathrakogiannis from the Fire Department said rapid water rescue specialists as well as divers of the disaster response units as part of the Army were involved in rescue efforts.

The wildfires had caused extensive damage to farmland as well as forests. Homes were also destroyed and more than twenty deaths resulted. The Fire Department reported Thursday that, while much of central Greece had been inundated by the floods, a fresh forest fire was raging in Evros to the north-east. In the same area, last week’s biggest fire in Europe destroyed a large nature reserve. In the Soufli section of Evros, 36 firemen were supported by two helicopters as well as four aircraft.

Nikos Dendias has announced that he will return to Greece from Dubai so he can “supervise the Armed Forces to deal with the impacts of the severe weather.”

Thessaloniki (northern city) – The Greek prime minister KyriakosMitsotakis has postponed the announcement of his state of economy address and the news conference that was to take place at the weekend. Mitsotakis visited the areas affected by the flooding.

Police in three areas have prohibited traffic, including the island of Skiathos. They have also sent out numerous phone messages to alert people throughout the country not to venture outdoors or to enter basements and lower floors.

Daniel the storm was supposed to gradually ease off Thursday night.

A series of rainstorms hit Athens again on Wednesday. This time, the streets were inundated and a part of central Athens’ main avenue turned into a river.

Culture Ministry confirmed Thursday that while the National Art Gallery also experienced flooding in its city centre location, no artwork was damaged.

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