Help is pledged for flood victims as rain continues

The government yesterday pledged to compensate hundreds of people whose homes or farmland were destroyed in storms across northern Greece this weekend as heavy rain wreaked further havoc on central Greece and forecasts warned of more bad weather. «There will be immediate compensation to all households,» Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said after touring flooded areas. The prefecture of Magnesia in central Greece was declared to be in a state of emergency, joining the prefectures of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, which have been ravaged since Saturday. Some 200 homes have reportedly been flooded within an 80-kilometer radius of Thessaloniki. The municipality of Rentina was hard-hit, with hundreds of houses flooded. Also badly affected were the villages of Stavros and Melisourgos, where houses were submerged in 3 meters of water. State officials began assessing damage to roads and infrastructure – estimated at millions of euros – while rescue workers cleared piles of mud and rocks from the road network. Hundreds of hectares of farmland are feared to have been destroyed and countless animals drowned. Also, three bridges, including a crucial one on the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road, have collapsed since Sunday. But authorities fended off accusations of inadequate anti-flood measures. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos apologized «on behalf of the state for everything that previous governments have failed to do.» A 25-year-old whose car was swept into a river in Argolida on Saturday was still missing yesterday. Also, a tourist was reported missing on the island of Skiathos.

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