Metropolitan Timotheos of Thessaliotida, in a church where medicine is being distributed to flood-affected citizens. (Photo provided by the Metropolis of Thessaliotis and Phanariopharsalos)
BOSTON – The region and ecclesiastical province of the Metropolis of Thessaliotis and Phanariopharsalos in Greece have been severely affected by the recent devastating floods. Metropolitan Timothy, who is constantly on the move visiting and supporting the unfortunate people who have lost everything, including their homes, described the situation to The National Herald.
The observations of the Metropolitan follow:
“The major problem is the houses of the people in many villages. In Metamorfosis, the waters have not receded; until yesterday, they were two and a half meters deep. There is massive destruction in the villages. Yesterday, I was in Agios Dimitrios, and you feel like you are in the 1950s after the war; you don’t see asphalt, only mud.
“People are trying to clean their homes, and we also have houses that have collapsed, especially the old houses that were in the fields and were made of bricks; many houses have fallen due to the flood.
“I have already said and communicated that the government must implement a housing program to build houses for the people. It’s not just about the existing houses that can be cleaned and re-inhabited by the people, but we need a housing program because there have been houses that, as I mentioned, were the homes of people, their lives, their property. Many large livestock farming businesses have also been lost, and of course, the fields themselves have been altered, their appearance has changed due to this situation. All the cotton and corn have been destroyed. The fields need time to recover, and it is understandable that things will be very difficult for a considerable period of time. That is why these people need help.
“Today, I read that 25% of the GDP of Greece comes from Thessaly, and that has been lost, and it will not be able to recover next year. This [intervention] is necessary not only for the people’s survival but also for our homeland. Karditsa Prefecture was the first in terms of cotton production.”
When asked if there is a risk that the affected people might relocate to other areas, including Athens or Thessaloniki, His Eminence said, “that is our fear, which is why the government needs to develop a housing program. There are young farmers who have been devastated and who had made an effort to settle here and work, to contribute and live. They started from scratch when they came and now they are back to square one, and this worries us a lot. I have already conveyed this to our members of parliament and to the Minister of National Defense, who visited us, and I ask them to relay it to the Prime Minister and the government that they need to consider this very seriously.”
Metropolitan Timotheos stands with the affected people in various ways, personally visiting all the areas and villages. He told TNH that, “with all our collaborators, both clergy and volunteers, we are making this effort. At the Metropolis nursing home, we are accommodating forty people. The two structures built in Karditsa, in cooperation with the municipality, are for whatever is needed. We have fifty people in a hotel, and we provide them with meals twice a day. In the Agnandero area, in the church premises, we cook and distribute 1,400 meals daily. Of course, the Municipality of Mouzaki helps us in this entire endeavor, but when I tell you about 1,400 meals, you can understand. Inside the city of Karditsa, they constantly cook and distribute food because people don’t have kitchen equipment. They can’t cook, and they are more focused on cleaning their homes to be able to settle in again. With the help of the Medical Supplies Group, I am expecting beds, mattresses, and pillows for distribution to the people whose homes were lost, as well as financial assistance from the Philoptochos Fund for their personal expenses. Today, I learned that these six thousand euros from the government for those who registered on the platform and made their declarations have started to be disbursed for their initial expenses for their household equipment, which is very good and encouraging. I believe that everything will progress, but we are still in September with rains and other issues, as you can understand.”
When asked if the disaster could have been prevented or mitigated, His Eminence responded, “I cannot answer that. There are many flood protection projects underway following this phenomenon, named Daniel, that occurred here. The truth is that it became evident everywhere that this Daniel was much stronger. I experienced the situation with [the storm] Ianos, and I am living through this one as well. Evaluating how all these events happened and how they were managed is a matter I cannot address.”
Metropolitan Timothy expressed his warmest regards and deep respect for the Greek-American Community.
The Metropolitan has opened the following account for those who wish to contribute:
Bank Account of the General Philoptochos Fund of the Holy Metropolis of Thessaliotis:
GR4801103680000036800179909.. National Bank of Greece. SWIFT BIC: ETHNGRAA [email protected].
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