Greece Launches Rescue Effort In Flooded Villages
Farkad�na, Greece, Sept 7 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th Sep, 2023 ) :Greek rescue teams used divers, lifeboats and helicopters to reach dozens of villagers in central Greece Thursday, as the death toll from the Storm Daniel rose to six.
Fierce storms have battered Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria following a period of extreme heat and devastating wildfires -- the kind of extreme weather climate experts say is becoming more frequent because of human-induced climate change.
Flooding affected the port city of Volos, and the towns of Karditsa and Tikala further inland and several villages, after more than a year's worth of rain fell there in 24 hours.
- Night-time rescue operation - Summarising the situation in Thessaly, Civil Protection and Climate Crisis Minister Vassilis Kikilias told reporters that some 67 people had been rescued from the villages near Karditsa.
"Rescuers and rescue boats and all available teams with artificial lighting will continue house-to-house rescues in the stranded villages during the night," he said.
Operations were complicated because of a breached dam between Trikala and Karditsa, along a tributary of the flooded River Pinios.
Austria's foreign ministry said that two of its citizens had gone missing in the area.
The plain of Thessaly, the country's largest "has been transformed into a vast lake," Dimitris Theodorou, a retired farmer from the village of Farkadona told AFP.
"You can't even see the cornfields, that are two, to two-and-a-half metres high," he added.
A bridge over the River Enipeas near the town of Farsala was swept away by the floodwaters, an AFP journalist reported.
- 'Trapped in their houses' - Earlier Thursday, ERT television broadcast images of a Super Puma helicopter helping evacuate an elderly person.
A total of 480 firefighters with 195 vehicles are taking part in these operations complicated by the high levels of the floodwaters.
"For the third consecutive day, the country is facing an unprecedented phenomenon" with floodwaters making it difficult to reach some towns and villages, government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis told journalists.
Emergency services had sent teams of divers and lifeboats to help with the rescue operation, he added.
"The inhabitants are trapped in their homes without any help," the city's mayor, Giorgos Sakellariou, told the channel, adding that the floodwater was between 1.5 and 2 metres high.
He also postponed his weekend visit to the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, where he had been due to give the annual keynote speech, present the government's four-year plan and hold a major news conference.
The EU's civil protection mechanism stood ready to assist, he added.