NEWS

Markopoulo flood threat?

The mayor of the town hosting Olympic equestrian events accused organizers yesterday of creating potential flooding problems by not installing a drainage system for the venue. Mayor Fotis Magoulas said the 1,000 residents of Markopoulo, a traditional winemaking area about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Athens, were concerned about increased flood risks once the summer dry season ends. A pre-Olympic test event will be held at the site beginning on Friday. «The equestrian facility is a very nice athletic center but as far as anti-flooding protection, we are in immediate danger… We have informed Athens 2004 about some work that must be done,» Magoulas told The Associated Press. Magoulas said the venue was built without a drainage system near an area prone to flash flooding. The venue was originally to be finished in May but now is scheduled to be fully operational in October. «Last year we had accidents due to flooding,» Magoulas said. «This year we will have even more water coming out of the equestrian center.» (AP)