The army, firefighters and civil protection are Thursday, September 28 on a war footing to deal with the floods caused by torrential rains that hit the center of Greece again, three weeks after the deadly storm Daniel. Since Wednesday evening, a new storm named Elias has mainly affected the city of Volos, capital of Magnesia, the island of Evia and the department of Fthiotida, causing the flooding of torrents, landslides, dam failures, flooding of roads and homes, according to firefighters.
More than 250 people have been rescued since Wednesday by firefighters, supported by the army, who use rubber dinghies and special vehicles to access the affected scene. Due to bad weather, a two-seater private helicopter fell late Thursday morning off the island of Evia and searches are underway to find the passengers, firefighters said. Much of Volos is without electricity and sections of the local hospital have been flooded but the facility remains operational.
Aftermath of Storm Daniel
Our thoughts today are in Volos and Euboea," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a meeting with his right-wing parliamentary group. Depending on the weather, the storm is expected to weaken Thursday night but "rescue forces will remain on the spot," Vassilios Vathrakoyanis, spokesman for the fire brigade, told state broadcaster Ert. With about 140,000 inhabitants, Volos is struggling to recover from storm Daniel in early September, which dumped waterspouts in Thessaly, the main agricultural production plain in Greece, about 400km north of Athens.
The village of Agria after storm Elias. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / REUTERS
Volos was then deprived of drinking water for more than two weeks and the damage to the local distribution network has not yet been fully repaired. "It was only this week that the authorities completed the cleaning of the places affected (by storm Daniel, editor's note)," said Eleni Konstantatou, a resident of Volos. "Yesterday (Wednesday) it started raining but we thought it was a small shower, we did not expect the area to be flooded again (...). We are back to square one," she told AFP.
Residents try to evacuate water from the streets in Elias. LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / REUTERS
Storm Daniel killed 17 people in Thessaly, destroying crops and killing tens of thousands of livestock. After Greece, Daniel struck Libya last week, killing at least 3875 people.