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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-09

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM leaves urgently for Thessaloniki to coordinate efforts after storms, flooding

  • [01] PM leaves urgently for Thessaloniki to coordinate efforts after storms, flooding

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis left urgently for Thessaloniki shortly before noon on Monday, to meet up with a team of senior government officials who arrived early in the day to visit the regions in northern Greece hard hit by torrential rains and flash floods over the weekend. Karamanlis will later preside over a meeting with the government team and local officials on confronting the problems caused by the inclement weather.

    Karamanlis' scheduled noon-time meeting with merchant marine minister Manolis Kefaloyannis was postponed for Tuesday morning.

    The team of government officials, headed by interior, public administration and decentralisation minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, assessed the damage caused by the torrential rainfall throughout the weekend during a meeting at the Stavros Town Hall in Halkidiki. The meeting, chaired by Pavlopoulos, was also attended by agricultural development and food minister Evangelos Basiakos, environment, town planning and public works deputy minister Themistoklis Xanthopoulos, civil protection secretary teneral Panagiotis Fourlas, regional governor of Central Macedonia George Tsiotras, the prefects of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki and local mayors.

    Tsiotras told ANA-MP after the meeting that the interior minister had assured that compensation would be provided for damage suffered by local residents and farmers, while the affected regions would be formally designated as flood-stricken for that purpose.

    Pavlopoulos, Basiakos and Xanthopoulos left shortly after the meeting to tour the stricken areas.

    Damage assessment got underway on Sunday, and losses will be compensated quickly to help the affected people solve the serious problems they face, while the government has pledged to approve larger compensations than usually approved in cases of natural disasters because of the extent of the phenomena, according to Macedonia-Thrace minister George Kalantzis, who visited the flood-stricken areas eary in the day.

    The minister also said that the state mechanismās response had bee adequate despite the large number of problem fronts it was faced with in the villages of Melissourgos, Stavros, and Olympiada, as well as in Arnea and Paleochori in the prefecture of Halkidiki, and along the Thessaloniki-Kavala stretch of the national highway.

    The villages of Nea Apollonia, Modi, and Varvara were without electricity on Monday morning, while Fire Department crews continued to pump out flooded homes in Vrasna, Stavros and Olympiada.

    Traffic problems were also reported throughout the Thessaloniki and Halkidiki road network, while the old Thessaloniki-Kavala national highway at the Modi intersection remained closed for motorists after a bridge collapsed, and efforts were underway to remove the debris covering the surface of the road.

    The weather in Thessaloniki and Halkidiki has slightly improved since the early morning hours, but the state mechanism was still in a state of alert, while rain continued in western Macedonia, but without causing serious problems.

    Road axes cut in two, flooded basements and stores, destroyed infrastructures, livestock and crops, and desperate residents trying to remove the waters from their flooded homes formed the picture of regions of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki on Monday morning.

    A state of emergency was declared in the region on Sunday.

    The Fire Department has received a total of 145 calls to pump out flooded homes mainly from Stavros, Melissourgos, Nea Apollonia, Olympiada, and Arnea. A total of 70 Fire Brigade fire engines and 230 firemen assisted by EMAK special rescue teams, Hellenic Rescue Team volunteers and the Thessaloniki Commando Club managed to evacuate all those at risk using crawlers and rescue boats.

    Electricity supply was restored in the morning in four out of nine villages, while the rainfall caused traffic problems in large sections of Thessaloniki, where many traffic lights went out of order, thus causing traffic jams.

    The villages of Asvestochori, Exohi and Filiro were left without electricity when a tree fell on the PPC main supply network. Electricity problems were also reported in parts of the city of Thessaloniki in the district of Toumba and around the Thessaloniki Aristotle University campus, while the Fire Department received many calls to free people trapped inside elevators stuck between floors.

    Meanwhile, rescue teams continued their search for a 25-year-old driver whose car was swept by floodwaters in the village of Aghios Dimitrios in Argolida prefecture, northwest Peloponnese, on Saturday. Rescuers found the car on Sunday, but without the driver.

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