Sudden storm floods Evia; 7 people found dead, 1 missing
Seven people have been found dead, and one is missing, after a storm hit the island of Evia early Sunday, authorities say.
Two yet unidentified victims were announced Sunday afternoon by Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias.
Later Sunday, firefighters found the bodies of a woman, 38, and her husband, 42, outside their home in the inland village of Amfithea.
Just before that, one of the missing persons, an elderly woman, was found at sea, holding on to a piece of furniture, and was rescued by helicopter.
Earlier Sunday, an 86-year-old man and his wife, 85, as well as an 8-month-old baby, were identified as having died when a flooded river tore through their homes in the village of Politika, north of the city of Halkida, about 100 kilometers from Athens.
According to the local mayor, the baby and its parents were on holiday in the area.
According to the fire service, they have responded to 495 calls, of which 47 concerned people trapped in their homes and cars. Eight of the 47 were evacuated by helicopter. The rest were calls to drain flooded homes. Some people have climbed to the rooftops of their homes, while others, caught by the sudden flood in the street, have climbed up olive trees.
When the storm first broke out around midnight, the fire service had to respond to about 50 fires caused by lightning.
The worst of the flooding is now to be found south of Halkida, in the areas of Bourtzi and Lefkanti, wherre a second river has burst its banks. Road connections to the island are cut and the only way to reach Evia is by a ferry departing from Oropos, north of Athens.