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Floods in Greece: Death toll rises to 10

September 9, 2023

Hundreds of villagers are stranded in central Greece after floods hit the region, killing at least ten people. Helicopters plucked people from rooftops and military personnel rescued families in rubber boats from floods.

Flooding in Thessaly, Greece
The fertile plain of Thessaly is devastated by floodingImage: Antonis Nikolopoulos/Eurokinissi /IMAGO

Helicopters plucked people from rooftops and military personnel rescued families in rubber boats from floods up to three meters deep in dozens of stranded villages in central Greece. The death toll from deadly floods rose to 10, officials said on Friday.

The 10 dead were all found in the area of Thessaly, about 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Athens. According to Greek Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias, four people were also reported missing.

Meanwhile, 1,700 people had been rescued in total, among them 296 airlifted away from their homes, authorities said. However, people calling television stations said hundreds of people were still stranded.

Houses were washed away by torrents, bridges collapsed, roads became impassable, power lines collapsed, and crops on the fertile plain of Thessaly were destroyed. 

Greece confronts aftermath of storm Daniel

Government promises help

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed on Friday that his government would do "everything humanly possible" to support flood-hit regions as he inspected the devastated Karditsa region.

He said the first priority was to rescue all people still in danger, especially those living in villages that have been under water for days and remained cut off.

Owners of destroyed houses, flats and businesses should receive assistance as quickly as possible, the prime minister added. "We will find the money, whether it is national or European funds," Mitsotakis said.

Storm Daniel devastates Greek port city of Volos

Storm Daniel devastates region

The floods in Greece followed a huge forest fire in the north and the country's hottest summer on record. Scientists say Greece is on the front lines of climate change and unusual weather events are becoming more common.

According to meteorologists, storm Daniel was the worst storm to hit the country since records began in 1930. It devastated not only Greece, but also Turkey and Bulgaria for three days, leaving a trail of destruction. Severe flooding in neighboring Turkey and Bulgaria this week left 12 people dead.

As the world warms, the atmosphere contains more water vapor which increases the risk of heavy precipitation in some parts of the world, notably in Asia, Western Europe and Latin America.

Combined with other factors such as urbanization and land-use planning, these more intense rainfall events contribute to flooding.

dh/sri (AFP, dpa, Reuters)