Flood waters encircle Greek capital

Fire department receives more than 1,500 calls to pump out water as torrential rains flood Athens and surrounding areas.

    Flood waters encircle Greek capital
    At 100mm, Friday's showers were twice the monthly average in Greek capital and surrounding areas [Reuters]

    Fierce storms in Greece have left at least one stranded driver dead as flood waters cause blackouts and road jams.

    Friday's torrential rainfall in Athens was blamed for the death of the woman whose car was trapped in floodwater, authorities said.

    "We have many, many problems, it's hard to know where to begin describing it,'' Vassilis Papageorgiou, deputy fire chief, said.

    The overnight storm swept across greater Athens, flooding hundreds of homes, causing blackouts in parts of the capital and forcing authorities to close major roads and a central subway station in Athens.

    Police closed underpasses and highways in low-lying parts of the city after they were submerged, while parked cars were swept away by racing waters.

    A 23-year-old woman who had been trapped in her car on a flooded suburban road died shortly after being pulled free by other motorists and taken to a hospital, police said.

    Doctors said a preliminary examination suggested she had died of heart failure.

    Emergency calls

    The fire department said it received more than 1,500 calls to pump out water in greater Athens.

    During five hours of heavy rainfall, more than 100mm  fell in some parts of the city, double the monthly average of 50mm.

    An abandoned house collapsed in the city centre, but no injuries were reported, while a factory north of Athens was seriously damaged when floodwater eroded the ground beneath the structure.

    The capital's tram system was also shut down for more than an hour, while urban rail schedules were disrupted after a tree fell onto the tracks.

    The rain also caused power cuts in parts of the city.

    In parliament, a worker clearing water from the roof of the main assembly hall during a session tripped and went through a glass skylight, but was pulled to safety by a policeman.

    The accident occurred as cabinet members were preparing to answer questions.

    SOURCE: AP


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