Flash floods on Greek island kill seven including baby

Rescuers searching for missing person as dozens are evacuated after storms devastate central island of Evia.

People stand in a destroyed street following a storm at the village of Politika, on Evia island, northeast of Athens, on August 9, 2020. Five people including a baby died and two more were missing as
People stand in a flooded street following a storm at the village of Politika, on Evia island [Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP]

Heavy rains and thunderstorms have caused flash flooding on the central Greek island of Evia, killing at least seven people including a baby.

Fire brigade officials said on Sunday three of the victims, including the baby, were found in the village of Politika. The other four were in the village of Amfithea and the village of Bourtzi in central Evia, northeast of the capital, Athens.

Rescuers were still searching for one missing person. A woman previously reported as missing was found alive and well, the civilian protection agency said.

In Bourtzi, restaurant terraces, a children’s playground, some parking lots and parts of the narrow coastal road were swept away by the torrential rains and mudslides.

A view of a destroyed house at the village of Bourtzi, following flash floods on the island of Evia, Greece, August 9, 2020. Sotiris Dimitropoulos/Eurokinissi via REUTERS
A destroyed house in the village of Bourtzi [FSotiris Dimitropoulos/Eurokinissi via Reuters]

The fire department received hundreds of calls to pump water from homes and vehicles submerged in mud.

Dozens were evacuated and 43 people were rescued by helicopter as roads flooded an area where a river had burst its banks. Transport was widely disrupted.

Thousands of Greeks spend their summer holidays in the area.

“Numerous beaches have been washed away,” one resident from the town of Vasiloko told Skai, a Greek television station. The water also washed several cars into the sea.

“We are faced with phenomena that we haven’t experienced before,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias, who visited the area, told reporters, adding that climate change is making it harder to predict their intensity.

Authorities had expected 63mm of rain to fall within 24 hours, but the latest confirmed measurement showed 350mm of rain, he said.

Climate change is expected to intensify weather events in Greece where summers are usually dry, experts have said. Thunderstorms are rare but they have become more frequent in recent years.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies