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Cyclone Ianos Brings Setbacks and New Beginnings for Farmers in Central Greece

KARDITSA — In mid-September 2020, a Mediterranean cyclone appeared in Greece for the first time. Large swaths of the country, from the southern Ionian to the Sporades and Crete, were faced with heavy winds, torrential rain, and flooding.

Four people lost their lives. In Karditsa, Cyclone Ianos wiped out more than 13,000 livestock animals, while also destroying homes and property. The region’s stock farmers lost their herds overnight, and with them whatever financial security they had and every hope for the future.

In the days after the disaster, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) launched an effort to help the affected farmers. In collaboration with the nonprofit organization New Agriculture New Generation, a close partner of SNF, initial contacts were established in the field to explore the best ways to provide assistance. Eventually, through a grant from SNF, 700 farm animals were purchased for local stock farmers in Karditsa, going to those who had suffered the greatest losses. The grant also secured 63 tons of feed to meet the animals’ needs for three months.

The process of identifying the beneficiary farmers and suitable livestock, as well as the transaction that followed, were carried out with the expertise of a veterinarian, a legal advisor, economists, zootechnicians, and agronomists, ensuring full transparency and a successful outcome. Valuable support, both to the beneficiary farmers and in the grant implementation process, was provided by the Agricultural Cooperative of Cow Breeders and Sheep Breeders of Western Thessaly, the Agricultural University of Athens and the University of Thessaly. The initiative to support the stock farmers of Karditsa brought together a large number of people from different regions and professions who collaborated toward a common goal: to help people who had lost their means of earning a living. The SNF grant provided a foundation for the stock farmers of Karditsa to find hope and rebuild their lives, and the impetus for an unprecedented show of solidarity.

For the ancient Romans, Ianos, or Janus, was a god of beginnings and transitions. The catastrophic passage of Cyclone Ianos through Greece left deep wounds. In the case of the stock farmers of Karditsa, though the pain and the loss are still there, the days after Cyclone Ianos, marked a sort of new beginning. Because, after the initial feelings of despair and thoughts of giving up animal husbandry, the program’s beneficiaries felt—as they shared in a video (hyperlink)—that they are not alone, that they can now start over and find success once again.

We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the program:

Apostolopoulos Yiorgos, Legal advisor | Manouras Alexandros, Director of the Cooperative | Papadomichelakis Yiorgos, Tsimboukas Konstantinos, Professors at the Agricultural University of Athens | Vaiopoulos Yiorgos, President of the Cooperative | Vasileiou Natalia, Veterinarian/Project coordinator | University of Thessaly | the entire New Agriculture New Generation team

The program’s beneficiaries are:

Aivazi Kyriaki, Apostolou Serafeim, Barkalis Stefanos, Filippou Thomas, Filippou Vasiliki, Hondos Ioannis, Kostopoulos Panagiotis, Kyriakoulis Dimitrios, Mavrogiorgos Dimitrios, Palantzas Nikistratos, Pourdalas Panagiotis, Sideri Maria, Sideris Yiorgos, Tsekouras Ioannis, Tzekas Christos

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