A second powerful storm in less than a month has wreaked havoc in parts of central Greece, causing widespread damage and flooding. The storm, known as Elias, resulted in extensive flooding in the city of Volos and left hundreds of people stranded in nearby mountain villages. The fire service has been carrying out numerous rescues and evacuations, while a search operation is underway for two missing individuals after a private helicopter disappeared in the stormy weather.
The mayor of Volos, Achilleas Beos, described the situation as dire, stating that the city has turned into a lake and people’s lives are at risk. Power outages are affecting 80% of the city, compounding the difficulties faced by its residents. Recent bad weather in the same area has already claimed the lives of 16 individuals and caused significant damage amounting to billions of euros.
Residents in Volos have been using plastic buckets to remove mud from their homes in an attempt to salvage their possessions. Older residents, like 83-year-old Apostolis Dafereras, who has lived in the suburb of the city since 1955, expressed shock at the unprecedented levels of flooding. Authorities reported that the worst damage occurred in and around Volos, as well as in northern parts of the nearby island of Evia, an area that is particularly susceptible to flooding due to wildfires that occurred two years ago.
The European Union has pledged over 2 billion euros in financial aid to assist Greece in dealing with the aftermath of summer wildfires and ongoing floods. Additionally, the Greek government is in the process of renegotiating the terms of other aid packages to allocate funds towards climate change adaptation. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged the severity of the situation, stating that the positive trajectory of the country has been overshadowed by natural disasters caused by climate change.
Sources: Associated Press