ATHENS – There will an extension until Wednesday of the holiday imposed in snowbound areas of Greece for the regions of Attica, the Dodecanese and Cyclades islands and Crete, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides announced on Tuesday in a briefing on the bad weather.
Stylianides said that police, armed forces, fire brigade and civil defence personnel, as well as volunteers, had worked through the night to extricate roughly 3,500 people and 1,800 cars trapped on highways. Throughout the night, he added, teams from the army, police and fire brigade on foot had distributed blankets, water and food to assist the people trapped in their cars, as well as providing medical care and providing people with shelter in hospitals.
He reported that the Proastiakos Railway has transported and is still transporting those that spent the night at the airport to Athens and other safe locations around Attiki Odos, where they were taken by fire brigade, police and army personnel so that they might be picked up by train.
“This effort is continuing today also, so that all the drivers can be extricated as soon as possible,” he said.
Since last night, all the cars abandoned by their owners on Attiki Odos are being moved to the hard shoulder in order to clear the road and allow the snow ploughs to work more efficiently.
Stylianides said that particular attention was paid to medical issues, with the assistance of the ambulance service and Red Cross volunteers.
“Through the superhuman efforts of all the people working in the field, we avoided having any injuries or even something worse. The assistance of EKAB in this was crucial and we thank all the forces that are still operating at this time,” he added.
The minister spoke of a “very difficult night”, in which the state faced “unprecedented conditions” and noted that the “apology of the state is not and should never be insincere”.
“This is not the time to apportion blame. We are now in the field and managing this very difficult situation and we must be undistracted in this work,” the minister said. At the same time, he added, “in a comparison of the situation on the Athens-Lamia national highway with Nea Odos and that with Attiki Odos, on the other hand, the difference is so blatant that it confirms just how groundless are the assertions of the Attiki Odos management company.”
Regarding the power cuts, Stylianides said a detailed briefing will be given by the minister responsible and announced that the civil protection services have provided the network operator DEDDIE with two surveillance helicopters to more quickly locate the points of damage once the weather conditions allow.
He noted that the Athens airport was operating normally and that the airport was accessible via the Proastiakos Railway and via the Vari-Koropi road.
“The problems, with the help of all forces, are gradually becoming fewer, the situation is improving by the hour and we hope that by the close of the day we will not have any particular problems with people trapped. Normality will return to the country the soonest possible,” Stylianides concluded.