Greece: Devastating floods in Crete kill at least one

Greece: Devastating floods in Crete kill at least one

Vehicles washed away, streets flooded with mud and water: devastating floods on the island of Crete in southern Greece left one dead and one missing on Saturday and, according to the fire department, caused considerable damage.

A man in his 50s died in his car when torrential rains hit the region of Heraklion, capital of Crete on the north coast of the island, on Saturday morning.

At the end of the day, the emergency services were still looking for the other vehicle occupant, who managed to get out of the vehicle. These two people traveled to Heraklion to work, according to public broadcaster ERT.

According to the fire department, which received 453 calls in an hour as of Saturday morning, a woman who was also trapped in her car suffered minor injuries.

Firefighters also rescued eight tourists and a guard blocked by bad weather at the Archaeological Museum of Sitia.

As of 10:30 a.m. local time (07:30 GMT), a torrent of rain fell on northeastern Crete, particularly the Heraklion region, whose airport was temporarily closed, according to the ERT channel.

Lifeguards search Agia Pelagia beach in Crete after exceptional flooding on October 15, 2022 (AFP – -)

Streets filled with mud and quickly turned into a river, carrying for miles vehicles that were later found in the sea or stacked on top of each other, upside down, or spread over walls.

– Alarm in Rhodes –

The deputy interior minister was expected on site on Sunday.

In the seaside resort of Agia Pelagia, the otherwise idyllic sandy beach offered a lonely landscape.

The vehicles were swept away by the rising waters and overturned on the seafront where rescuers, including divers, were busy amid debris strewn on the beach.

The streets of the seaside village were hit by a spectacular mudslide and debris carried away by the storm.

According to ERT, more than 15 shops, mostly luxury restaurants, were damaged in Agia Pelagia, which usually serves wealthy customers.

In the village, excavators were busy clearing the streets.

Rescuers and firefighters have been working in the area throughout Saturday to help desperate residents in the face of extraordinary flooding.

The beach of Agia Pelagia in Crete after flash floods on October 15, 2022 (AFP - Costas METAXAKIS)
The beach of Agia Pelagia in Crete after flash floods on October 15, 2022 (AFP – Costas METAXAKIS)

All gorges, popular hiking destinations for tourists, are closed until further notice.

Asked about the Skai TV channel, the Mayor of Sitia judged that “the situation is out of control” and stated that “these phenomena in the region are exceptional”.

Local media reports extensive damage in other coastal villages, where the streets have become rivers, sweeping away everything in their path and where several homes have had to be evacuated.

The region’s sub-prefect, Nikos Syrigonakis, urged residents to “limit their movements”. “It’s a tough day,” he added.

The civil defense, which has been put on alert, urged the population on Crete and the surrounding islands of Rhodes, Karpathos, Kastellorizo ​​​​and Kasos to be vigilant on Sunday.

“At the moment the (weather) phenomenon seems to have shifted towards the east of Crete, and precipitation is already being registered in Karpathos and Kasos,” fire department spokesman Yannis Artapoyos told the media.

All emergency services on Rhodes, Karpathos, Kasos and Kastelorizo ​​​​​​are on high alert for possible flooding.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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