NEWS

Two die as wind, rain lash islands

Two people were killed and substantial damage was inflicted on homes and businesses on several Greek islands as a result of heavy rain and gale-force winds over the last two days. Authorities said yesterday that a 34-year-old man was found dead in his home on Icaria, in the northern Aegean. It appears that the heavy rain caused the ground beneath the building to subside, causing the structure’s collapse. A pensioner drowned on nearby Chios on Monday night after being swept away in his car by onrushing floodwaters. The fire service had to help another 10 people who were trapped in their cars on Chios. It also responded to more than 300 calls to pump water out of basements. On Icaria, there were more than 50 calls for assistance from firefighters, while six people had to be pulled from their cars. A firefighter and the woman he was rescuing were slightly injured when a bridge collapsed. Local officials on Icaria said some small villages had suffered extensive damage. A state of emergency was declared on both Chios and Icaria. Government officials were due to visit the islands to inspect the damage. Farmers in Thessaloniki, Pella, Imathia, Kilkis, Serres and Halkidiki also reported widespread damage to cotton, corn and various other crops. Also on Monday night, a mini tornado hit the Ionian island of Zakynthos, leading to a British tourist being slightly injured when the window of the restaurant where she was dining smashed. It was the second whirlwind to strike the island in the past few days. The weather is expected to improve as of today, starting in western Greece and spreading to the rest of the country.