NEWS

Roadways blocked and crops destroyed on Naxos

All traces of the storm may have been carefully removed from Naxos’s harbor, yet chaos reigns over the rest of the island. The 20-kilometer (12-mile) road between the villages of Rachi and Koronida, along which most of northern Naxos’s villages are situated, is now covered in mud, snow, rocks and ice. Alongside it one can see uprooted trees, destroyed stone walls and muddy fields. «We work all day to keep the road open but as soon as we remove some of the earth, the mountain gives way and the road is blocked again,» said two inhabitants of the village of Moni who have been trying to open the road with the help of an excavator. Further down, at the village of Skardo, Manolis Farkonas, former community mayor, focused on another thorny issue: «Small cars can negotiate the roads, but buses are not able to do so. It’s been two weeks now without any public transport and the school has shut down because students from the surrounding villages cannot get there.» Giorgos Kritikos, owner of the coffee shop at Koronida, which is barely accessible because of the destroyed road, commented on the disaster: «There was so much rain that all the stone walls dividing the fields gave way. As a result, mud and water dragged everything down to the sea. The specialists who came said that the mountain has split in two and that it is gradually collapsing. At some point it will crash down on us.» Of all the villages, Koronida is the worst affected. It has no running water, one of its houses has suffered such major cracks that it will have to be pulled down, and its inhabitants are forced to take an alternative route to reach the island’s main town, Hora, since the regular road is too badly damaged. The future looks bleak, given that most of the villagers’ income comes from the vineyards which have now been destroyed. Giorgos Detsis, member of the Municipal Council of Drimalia, which includes the villages of northern Naxos, provided an estimate of the disaster. At the village of Damarionas 95 percent of the rural road network has been destroyed while two medieval churches must be pulled down. At Filoti, Naxos’s biggest village, the water swept all the stone walls away from the fields, while two houses were greatly damaged because of the floods. At Koronos, the water supply system is no longer in use and two medieval windmills have been damaged, while at Keramoti the rural road network has vanished. A group of Hora inhabitants commented on the situation while sitting at a coffee shop. «We hadn’t seen such heavy rainfall since 1942. And because it hardly rained at all in previous years, more or less everybody had built some illegal construction. Today, everybody has been affected by the storm, nature and God have punished us. He should have some mercy on us now, because if it rains again who knows what might happen.»