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Greek rescue teams move into worst-hit flood villages


A flooded area is seen following storm Daniel, in Megala Kalyvia, Greece September 9, 2023. REUTERS/Giannis Floulis

ATHENS — Rescue teams pulled people from floodwaters on Saturday in rubber boats and bulldozers as they headed toward villages hardest hit by a severe rainstorm that killed at least 10 people in central Greece this week.

Storm Daniel, which meteorologists say was the worst to hit the country since records began in 1930, battered Greece for three days from Tuesday September 5, leaving behind a trail of ruin after a wave record summer heat that sparked massive forest fires.

Houses were swept away by torrents, bridges collapsed, roads were destroyed, power lines fell and crops on the fertile plain of Thessaly were wiped out.

Authorities, who struggled to evacuate people from flooded areas, raised the death toll to 10 on Friday afternoon. Four people were missing, they said.

READ: At least 7 people die after heavy rain causes flooding in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria

On Saturday, September 9, rescue teams went to villages near the town of Larissa and near the Pineios River.

Firefighters have so far evacuated 2,806 people across the country. In the Thessaly region, many residents were evacuated by plane from the roofs of submerged houses on Friday and Saturday.

An 80-year-old fisherman with a small blue fishing boat helped evacuate at least 15 people in a village in the Karditsa region, one of the worst-hit areas, according to the iefimerida website on Friday evening.

“I am an old boatman, I have experienced four more floods in the village. It was the worst,” he told the media.

Authorities closed the national road linking Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki on Saturday due to flooding.

The deluge in Greece follows a massive wildfire in the north and the country’s hottest summer on record. Scientists say the country is on the front lines of climate change, with abnormal weather incidents becoming more frequent.

Extreme weather events have hit across the world in recent weeks, with flooding in Scandinavia, southeastern Europe and Hong Kong. On the other hand, India experienced its driest August since records began more than a century ago.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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