Storm, Flood Turn Greek City into Lake, 8 Rural Villages Evacuated

September 28, 2023

VOLOS – The Storm Elias that brought floods tearing through parts of Greece – after Storm Daniel did the same earlier in September – covered the northeast coastal city of Volos and led to residents having to flee eight villages.

Roads were torn up and swept away in the region, leaving dangerous gaps and turned Volos, with a population of almost 140,000 some 205 miles from Athens into a lake, said the Associated Press.

The fire service carried out multiple rescues and evacuations on Wednesday as torrential rains from the storm stranded people in regions cut off from road vehicles, said the British newspaper The Independent.


Hundreds of people were left stranded nearby mountain villages, authorities said. “People’s lives are in danger,” said Volos Mayor Achilleas Beos, adding that he himself “remained trapped”.

“Eighty percent of the city is without power. I don’t know where God found so much water. It’s like the story of Noah’s Ark,” he said, central Greece still trying to recover from the previous storm devastating Thessaly.

A man clears mud outside his house in a flooded street in Volos city, Greece, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Apart from the eight villages evacuated near Volos, residents in large parts were urged to stay indoors as floodwaters rose and road traffic was banned in the city, the report added.

The worst damage was reported from Volos and Greece’s second-largest island Evia, which is connected to the mainland with bridges, where people’s homes were flooded with muddy water.

Photos and videos showed floodwaters gushing through the streets after the torrential downpour, the report added of the second storm in weeks adding to Greece’s natural disasters that began in the summer with wildfires.

“I have never seen anything like this,” Apostolis Dafereras, 83, who has lived in a suburb of the Volos since 1955, told AP. So far, there have been no reports of death but flooding damaged several roads, homes and bridges.

The hospital in the city was flooded and two streams overflowed, the New Democracy government still taking heat for not ensuring that municipalities Storm Daniel caused some 2 billion euros ($2.11 billion) in damages – to be covered by the European Union – and brought ruin to the country’s agricultural heartland, seen further spiking food prices during inflation.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was further evidence of climate change that has been given only window dressing treatment by governments around the world, countries still preferring using fossil fuels which cause it.”: The frequency of (weather) assaults due to the climate crisis is something that requires us to integrate civil protection (in our response),” he told a Cabinet meeting without offering a plan to deal with it.

“Adaptation to the climate crisis is a fundamental priority in all our policies,” he said, although it’s a worldwide phenomenon largely ignored by governments even as it gets worse.


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