Evros on standby after villages flooded

Residents of Evros in northern Greece faced a difficult weekend after widespread flooding prompted by days of heavy rainfall increased pressure on the Evros River, putting local authorities and armed forces on alert.

After the evacuation of several villages on Friday, the armed forces deemed that conducting controlled explosions on dams could be a way of saving other villages from flooding.

The water level of the Evros River edged down from the emergency level on Saturday, prompting the armed forces to suspend their plan to destroy dams, but authorities remained on standby yesterday for a possible worsening of conditions.

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA) Michail Kostarakos visited some of the villages affected by heavy flooding over the weekend.

The number of homes and businesses flooded remained unclear as did the extent of the damage to farmland in the region. Many of the residents evacuated from their homes were put up in hotels. Those remaining in villages close to the banks of the Evros River remained on alert, along with local authorities and the military, Deputy Regional Governor Dimitris Petrovic told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency. A major concern was the possibility of a new influx of water from neighboring Bulgaria where there has also been heavy rainfall, he said.