NEWS

Storms flood homes and fields

Heavy rains across the country on Saturday flooded scores of homes and shops in eastern Attica, turned streets in the capital and country roads into torrents and swamped, once again, the fertile plains of Karditsa in central Greece, which had been devastated in 1994. Winds of up to 10 on the Beaufort scale in the Aegean led to all ships being banned from sailing from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina yesterday as the storms headed south for the Cycladic islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. The regions hit worst by the floods were Oropos, Marathon, Halkoutsi and Dilesi in eastern Attica, the islet of Angistri in the Saronic Gulf, and Karditsa. An apartment block near the train station in the Athens suburb of Pefkakia had to be evacuated after a sudden subsidence of ground next to it. The Kifissos River, which had flooded Athens’s southern coastal suburbs several times last year, came close to bursting its banks, forcing authorities to close the steel barriers on the old bridge along Pireos Street (while traffic continued along two temporary steel bridges recently put in place) and stopping trains from crossing the bridge over the river. A state of emergency was declared in Karditsa on Saturday as rivers swelled dangerously, threatening parts of the provincial capital and many villages across the region. Particularly hard hit were crops at the villages of Kypseli, Astritsa and Gourgoviton. Prefect Vassilis Anagnostopoulos said that rivers came close to bursting their banks but waters had begun to recede yesterday. «The state machinery did very well yesterday,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said yesterday. «There was a general mobilization by the Civil Defense Secretariat and the Public Works Ministry, and I think this was evident wherever there was a problem,» he said. In Oropos alone, 30 homes were flooded and the fire brigade responded to 120 calls for help. Traffic on the Oropos-Dilesi-Halkoutsi coastal road was blocked by floodwater. Also hit were Marathon and Markopoulo, Aghios Stefanos and Kryoneri.