floods greece
The road network at Mt. Pelion is virtually destroyed trapping thousands (Credit: Facebook/Giorgos Megariotis

Catastrophic floods claim lives wreak unprecedented damage

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The death toll from floods in central Greece continues to rise after severe rainstorms turned streams into raging torrents that burst dams, washed away roads and bridges and hurled cars into the sea. Much of the affected region was fertile farmland where key food crops are grown.

Fire service vehicles were unable to reach many of the worst-hit spots because the water was so deep. Greek military forces were called in to assist the rescue efforts and repair major damage to roads to restore transport. Torrential rain from Storm Daniel began to fall on Monday (Sept. 4). On Wednesday (Sept. 6), repeated rainstorms also hit Athens, where flooding has caused chaos. On Thursday (Sept. 7) flooding was concentrated mainly on the central town of Karditsa in Thessaly, where people were seeking safety from rising water on the roofs of their homes.

Entire areas of Karditsa and Trikala look like lakes. In Palamas and nearby villages of Metamorfossi, Vlochos, Astritsa, Marathea, and Rizovouni, the catastrophe has been described as being “of biblical proportions”,  homes and businesses destroyed, animals killed, cultivations flooded, and infrastructure wiped out, AMNA reported.

The city of Volos in Magnissia -some 330 kilometres north of Athens- and Mt Pilio, continued to face serious issues including great destruction in road infrastructure.

“More than 2,850 people have been rescued since the start of the severe weather,” fire spokesman Yannis Artopios told the Mega television channel.

The latest city to come under threat is Larissa, home to 150,000 people, where the River Pineios has burst its banks in some suburbs. It’s one of the biggest cities in Greece and the agricultural hub for the whole country. Many Greeks are furious at the authorities. They accuse ministers of using climate change as an excuse for poor building projects.

(Video credit: Pronews.gr)

“Nothing is left. Nothing,” farmer Christos Theodoropoulos told VOA. “No official has come to help us. I am embarrassed that this is 2023 and this has happened.” Yiannis Pagonaris, 51, the owner of a cafe in the city of Volos told The Guardian “The situation is similar to wartime.” 

The flooding follows devastating wildfires fires this summer that burned vast tracts of forest, farmland and homes and left more than 20 people dead.  In Evros, the EU’s largest ever wildfire began to abate only this week.

As well as the human devastation, the wildfires and the storm will deal an economic blow to the country, leaving a nation angry.

With reporting by AMNA.gr, ProNews.gr, Makelio.gr, The Guardian, VoA.