PAt least ten people have died and four are missing due to massive floods in central Greece, according to a new report released today by a government official.
The previous official balance showed six fatalities.
Meanwhile, search and rescue teams in helicopters and boats continued to rescue hundreds of people from flooded villages.
Floods caused by torrential rain also hit neighboring Bulgaria and Turkey, leaving a total of 22 dead in the three countries since the heavy rainfall began on Tuesday.
In Greece, the rains turned water courses into violent torrents that burst dams, washed away roads and bridges and threw vehicles into the sea. Authorities indicated that in some areas twice the average annual rainfall for Athens fell in just 12 hours.
Although the rains eased today, waters continued to rise after the Pineios River burst its banks near Larissa, one of Greece’s largest cities with a population of around 150,000, triggering evacuation orders in several areas.
The Greek Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias, stated that 1,800 people had been rescued by boat and helicopter from flooded villages, including 150 in need of immediate medical care.
Twenty helicopters and a thousand rescuers were involved in the rescue operation, the minister said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who canceled his annual speech on the state of the economy scheduled for this weekend and visited the flooded areas today, said he had contacted the European Union (EU) to ask for financial help for reconstruction.
“Our highest priority in the coming days is to ensure the evacuation of our fellow citizens from areas where they may be in danger,” Mitsotakis said.
Hundreds of people were trapped in villages inaccessible to vehicles, as roads were destroyed by floodwaters or cut off by falling rocks.
Rescue teams helped young children, elderly people and people on stretchers get out of helicopters that were landing in an area prepared for this purpose in the city of Karditsa.
Local media showed images of devastation. Rescuers, up to their chests in water, carried an elderly man on a stretcher on their shoulders, while residents of villages left without electricity or drinking water called Greek radio and television stations, asking for help and saying that people were still stranded without help. food and water.
Between Tuesday and the beginning of today, firefighters indicated that more than 1,800 people were rescued and that their department had received more than 6,000 requests for help to pump water from flooded homes and remove downed trees.
In the Mount Pelion area, on Thursday night, residents and tourists were transported to safety by sea because all access roads to some villages were impassable.
Authorities deployed swift water rescue experts and divers as flood waters rose more than two meters in some areas, leaving many homes submerged up to the roof. Residents of some villages reported complete collapse of buildings.
The floods followed devastating fires in Greece, which destroyed vast swaths of forest and farmland, burned houses and left more than 20 people dead.
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