Cost of floods counted

Damage caused by recent heavy rainfall that flooded parts of Alexandroupolis, northeast Greece, have exceeded the 3-million-euro mark as authorities warned of further heavy flooding this winter. According to initial assessments of Evros prefectural authorities, the floods caused extensive damage to infrastructure over a 5-kilometer stretch of Alexandroupolis’s beach zone. «The most beautiful part of the area has been destroyed. The beach looks like it has been bombed,» Evros Prefect Nikos Zambounidis told Kathimerini. More than 500 houses were also flooded by the heavy rainfall that hit the area on Sunday and Monday. Experts are currently assessing the condition of all bridges in the area, while the Komotini-Alexandroupolis train line remains closed after a stream broke its banks and covered the tracks. Officials from the Environment Ministry and the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry visited the area yesterday to assess the damage while the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) is expected to initiate procedures for compensation payments today. Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Secretariat for Civil Protection, Panayiotis Fourlas, told Kathimerini that new infrastructure projects were needed to help meet changing conditions. «In our country, just like in the rest of the world, we have been experiencing unprecedented conditions in recent years, particularly with regard to the weather. The state should take measures and be organized in such a way that it can develop the necessary mechanisms,» he said. Turning to anti-flooding works under way on Mount Parnitha, devastated by major forest fires this summer, Fourlas said the work being done was absolutely necessary since there was a great possibility of flooding later in the year. «Seeing the work done by the Environment Ministry on Mount Parnitha, I believe that it will save the area if needed. And I believe it will be needed since – based on our experience – we estimate that for sure this year we will have rain and flooding,» he said. The general secretary noted that a number of anti-flooding projects had already helped improve the situation in Athens, while adding that more work was needed.