International News

At least fifteen die in Greece flash flood

At least fifteen people died on Wednesday and more were missing after a strong overnight downpour flooded three towns in Greece, officials said.
The flooding struck the towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, a semi-rural area west of Athens where many factories and warehouses are based.
TV images showed tanker trucks, buses and lorries nearly completely submerged in the muddy torrent. “We have confirmation of seven deaths,” deputy regional governor Yiannis Vassileiou told state TV ERT as rain continued to fall.
Five men and two women aged 45 and above have died so far. “The weather forecast is poor, so we are on alert,” he said, adding that “torrents of water” had flooded a highway all the way to the sea many kilometres (miles) away.
“A river of debris went through Mandra… This is unprecedented,” Vassileou said. “Everything is lost, the disaster is biblical,” Mandra mayor Ioanna Kriekouki told the station.
“We have people who are trapped… we need machinery to get them out of their homes,” said Kriekouki, who was also immobilised in her home.
Five people were found inside and outside their homes, the fire department said. Another two bodies were found in the coastal areas of Aspropyrgos and Elefsina, the coastguard said. ERT said at least three more people were missing.
“Access to the area is difficult, debris has nearly reached the height of homes,” said fire department spokesman Yiannis Kapakis. The deputy governor said rubble-clearing equipment had been moved to the area but could not be used until the water levels subside.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the deaths had been caused by a “disastrous flood” and expressed deep sorrow for the deaths. The fire service said it had received over 300 calls for help and dispatched over 120 firemen to the area.