Floods claim one more life, threaten Evros

A flash flood carried away a 40-year-old woman on the southeastern Aegean island of Symi Tuesday, bringing the death toll from the torrential rains and heavy snowfall that have swept across Greece over the past few days to four.

Eight people were killed in neighboring Bulgaria when a dam burst. This caused the Evros River in northern Greece to break its banks, causing widespread damage and alarming civil defense authorities, who evacuated a number of villages in the vicinity.

A state of emergency was declared for the Evros region on Tuesday morning as floodwaters rushed into the border village of Ormenio and threatened another six hamlets near the river. Ormenio was evacuated while the other villages were put on standby through last night, as Bulgarian authorities warned that another two dams near the border with Greece had reached capacity and may not be able to withstand anymore prolonged downpours.

Meanwhile, heavy rains caused a landslide on the Patra-Corinth national highway in the Peloponnese Tuesday, forcing authorities to close off the stretch to traffic, which will be diverted onto the old national highway at least through Saturday.

Also in the Peloponnese, an investigation was launched Tuesday by a prosecutor in the prefecture of Ileia -- which has suffered widespread damage due to the bad weather over the past few days -- into the causes of the flooding of the region’s only hospital, in the city of Pyrgos, which has been forced to close while repairs are made.

In Larissa, central Greece, farmers watched their crops being swallowed up by the flooded Spercheios River, while parts of Ioannina in the northwest were Tuesday without water and electricity after strong winds and rain knocked out sections of the area’s two networks.

Civil defense authorities will remain on standby Wednesday and Thursday, as the wet and windy weather is forecast to continue while temperatures are set to plummet.

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