Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Greece to seek EU aid after deadly floods

Greece to seek EU aid after deadly floods

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The Greek government said Monday that it would seek emergency funding from the European Union to address the damage floods caused to one of the country's main agricultural regions last week.

"The prime minister has already sent a letter to the European Commission president to secure emergency funding to address the consequences of this disaster," government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis told reporters.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be in the French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday to discuss the issue with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Marinakis said.

Fifteen people have died and at least two are missing in the wake of the storm dubbed "Daniel" that hit last week.

The storm struck the coastal region of Magnesia on Monday and Tuesday -- in particular its capital, the port city of Volos -- and the villages around Mount Pelion before hitting localities around Karditsa and Trikala further inland on Wednesday.

Experts have described the event as "extreme in terms of the amount of water falling in a space of 24 hours".

The heavy rains and flooding followed devastating fires in Greece this summer that killed at least 26 people, most of them migrants trapped in a northern Greece forest.

The flooding has laid waste to thousands of hectares of rich agricultural land, and farmers have reported substantial losses of livestock,

On Monday, authorities began transporting the carcasses of thousands of drowned livestock animals for burial or incineration.

In Volos, water supply has become a problem after pumping stations and a large part of the supply network were damaged.

The health ministry has warned that the water is not safe for drinking, amid reports of gastroenteritis cases.

The entire Pelion peninsula region is still affected by water and power cuts, while many main roads have been damaged by the torrential rain.

The situation also remains worrying near the city of Larissa, where the Pinios river has overflowed its banks and water is rising dangerously on the outskirts of the town.

As the world warms, the atmosphere contains more water vapour which increases the risk of heavy precipitation in some parts of the world, notably in Asia, Western Europe and Latin America.

Combined with other factors such as urbanisation and land-use planning, these more intense rainfall events contribute to flooding.

Severe flooding also left a dozen dead in neighbouring Turkey and Bulgaria last week.