Floods, Wind Damage As Rare 'medicane' Storm Hits Greece
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Sat 19th September 2020 | 12:00 AM
Athens, Sept 18 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Sep, 2020 ) :A rare hurricane-like storm hit western Greece on Friday, disrupting travel and causing floods and power outages on several Ionian Sea islands.
"We face intense conditions with winds and very strong rainfall," deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias told reporters.
Mediterranean cyclone Ianos, an unusual phenomenon also known as a "medicane", packed violent winds of up to 117 kilometres (73 miles) per hour according to the Greek civil protection agency.
The coastguard on Friday said a boat believed to be carrying 55 migrants was in distress off the western Peloponnese amid the gale-force winds.
"For the time being we are unable to send a vessel to help," a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.
Other boats in the area were approaching the migrant vessels to offer assistance, she added later.
Minister Hardalias said there were no reports of injuries so far, adding that forecasts see the cyclone shifting southwards later Friday.
- Asylum-seekers relocated - The islands of Cephalonia, Ithaki and Zakynthos have been hit with power outages and part of the local road network has been cut off, he said.
Smaller problems were reported on the islands of Corfu and Lefkada.
Local ferry services were also shut down.
The 778 migrants from the camps of Elaionas, Malakasa and Schisto would be moved to a conference hall in Athens. Another 28 minors from the camp of Skaramangas would be temporarily rehoused in a hotel, it said.
A Swiss sailing boat moored at the island of Ithaki was carried away by waves but its two passengers managed to make it to shore, state news agency ANA said.
Another boat sank at the harbour of Zakynthos but its Belgian occupants were unhurt, Kratsa said.
"Cyclones and incidents like this are relatively rare in the region, as the Mediterranean sea is not as wide as the Atlantic and the climate is not favouring them," said Efthymios Lekkas, professor of applied geology at the University of Athens.
Cyclone Ianos "looks like it is going to be eventually milder than anticipated, but it is still ongoing," Lekkas said.
"It will reach Attica from midnight Friday, but will be considerably degraded," he added.
On Thursday the agency said it had relocated rescue teams with tracked vehicles to high-risk areas and held three rescue helicopters on standby.