ATHENS – Greek schools, public offices and most businesses will remain closed for a forth day on Jan 26, the aftermath of a predicted snow storm that still caught response apparatus off guard and saw some major roads closed.
The storm, called Elpida or Elpis – for hope – trapped thousands of motorists, including on Athens’ major ring road, Attiko Odos, some stuck for 10 hours or more and the Army sent out to bring them blankets and food.
Meteorologists said the snow’s effect will be worsened by lingering frozen temperatures while Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides briefed reporters about stranded motorists, power outrages and other damage.
Stylianides, a Cyprios who is a former European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management who took over a new Ministry for the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, apologized for the storm response.
Stylianides said the management of Attiki Odos, which runs the privately-operated toll road, will be held to account.
“Now is not the time to take stock,” the minister added, however, saying that the state mechanism was “out in the field” working to restore traffic circulation although many motorists abandoned their cars to walk home.
Passengers stranded overnight at Inoi were safe
The 400 passengers of two Athens-Thessaloniki trains who were stranded overnight at Inoi station in north Attica during a storm Monday were safe and provided with food, Greece’s railways operator TrainOSE said on Tuesday.
The two trains (Intercity 55 and 56) heading from and to Thessaloniki were unable to proceed after a tree fell across the tracks and immobilized a third intercity train. The company said the train carriages were docked safely at the station and were heated throughout the wait, while passengers were provided with food by train attendants who were assisted by the police
All 400 passengers were evacuated onboard buses leased by TrainOSE at 10:00 on Tuesday morning. Most were taken to the Larissis station on the Athens metro, while some chose to continue on to Thessaloniki with their own means of transport. Another 70 were booked in an Athens hotel by the company overnight Monday.
Athens-Thessaloniki trains routes will resume as soon as weather conditions allow for it, added the company.
On Tuesday, following the intervention of Infrastructure & Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis, the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group-FSI group that owns TrainOSE agreed to offer 1,000 euros in compensation to each passenger for the ordeal.