Flooded areas get emergency state funding

At least 1.7 million euros of emergency financial assistance was pledged by the government to the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and Magnesia and 12 municipalities where hundreds of homes and vast tracts of farmland have been flooded by heavy rainfall. The three prefectures have already received an emergency aid packet of 700,000 euros each, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said. Emergency aid is also due to be given to 12 municipalities, including Volos, which suffered its heaviest rainfall in 50 years after water levels reached 2 meters and 27 centimeters. Residents whose household goods were damaged in flooding are to receive 600 euros each, the Interior Ministry said. State officials assessing the damage to farmland in northern and central Greece said at least 100,000 hectares of cotton, beets, corn and grapes have been seriously damaged. An exact estimate will be possible when all water has been drained. Repairs to roads and infrastructure are expected to cost millions of euros. It willl cost 4.5 million euros and take about seven months to the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road, which was literally cut in two due to the collapse of a bridge. In the meantime, a temporary bridge is to be set up. According to the general secretary of Central Macedonia, Georgios Tsiotras, severe shortfalls in necessary infrastructure are to blame for the extent of the damage. «For 20 years now, there has been no funding for projects that would have averted such a disaster,» he said. National Technical University of Athens professor Manolis Aftias added, «Anti-flood planning should henceforth foresee sudden, intense rainfall and provide adequate protection.» Heavy rainfall over Attica early yesterday caused transport problems. Traffic was disrupted on major roads and several flights were canceled or delayed. The fire service received dozens of calls from citizens whose homes had flooded.