NEWS

Heavy floods kill one, wreck homes in western Greece

Rescue workers in the western prefecture of Aitoloacarnania recovered the body of a 47-year-old man yesterday and were searching for his 45-year-old wife after heavy rain caused a local river to break its banks and sweep away their pickup truck late on Thursday. Two solid hours of torrential rainfall on Thursday night wreaked widespread damage across the region but one of the worst-affected spots was the village of Potamoula, where the couple’s car was washed off a bridge. Local residents said the couple had probably been on their way home as the wrecked vehicle was discovered not far from their house. Rescue workers found the car early yesterday and discovered the body of Giorgos Papathanassis, a father of three, a few hours later. There had been no sign of Stavroula Papathanassi by evening, when additional rescue workers were dispatched to the area from Athens. There were reports of several other parked vehicles being swept away by floodwaters but no word of any injuries. Several homes, stores and stables were wrecked by the torrents. In some parts, floodwaters demolished entire walls, rushing into homes and sweeping electrical appliances and furniture out into the submerged streets. «I have never seen rain like this, it was truly torrential,» the prefect of Aitaloacarnania, Thymios Sokos, told Kathimerini, noting that a local water tank was clocking 1,000 cubic meters of water a second. There were also several landslides in the broader area, causing problems on roads. In the prefecture of Evrytania, local authorities were forced to close off a large section of the national highway after fallen rocks cluttered the road surface. The municipality of Trikala was affected too, chiefly its road network. «A huge boulder fell onto one of our main roads,» said Evangelos Mamalis, a local prefectural official.