Wind, rain cause major damage across country

Wind, rain cause major damage across country

State officials on Monday were trying to assess the damage after a weekend of gale-force winds and heavy rain battered central and northern Greece, wrecking roads, homes and farms, and triggering landslides.

Alternate Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Christos Spirtzis continued a tour of the affected areas Monday, moving northward to Epirus after starting in Arta on Sunday.

Several villages were evacuated in the broader Arta area to allow major damage to homes and infrastructure to be repaired.

The regions of Epirus and Evrytania were declared to be in a state of emergency, as were many villages in Aitoloakarnania.

In Epirus, some 60 percent of the region’s road infrastructure was damaged and scores of farms, homes and businesses flooded after several rivers broke their banks.

The northwestern city of Ioannina was also said to be at risk after the water of Lake Pamvotida rose above the emergency level. There were similar problems in Thesprotia and Preveza after lakes there also broke their banks, causing significant damage.

In Evrytania and Fokida, hundreds of hectares of farmland were razed and landslides put several villages at risk, prompting precautionary evacuations.

A rescue operation continued until late Monday to reach residents of the village of Klepa in Nafpaktia who were left stranded by falling rocks which blocked mountain roads.

In one of the many weather-related incidents over the weekend, gale-force winds blew the roof off a high school in Meliki, Imathia, northern Greece. A construction of wood and steel, measuring 600 square meters, the roof caused no injuries as there was nobody at the school when it was blown off.

Another casualty of the adverse weather was a 19th century bridge in the Tzoumerka region of northwestern Greece that was washed away amid heavy flooding.

Spirtzis said Monday that the reconstruction of the bridge was technically feasible, adding that Culture Ministry experts had already been dispatched to the site to assess the damage.

Crafted by local master Costas Bekas in 1866, the Bridge of Plaka was 40 meters long and stood some 20 meters above Arachthos River, making it one of the largest single-arch stone bridges in the Balkans.

Speaking to Mega TV on Monday, Spirtzis said that materials of the bridge would be recovered from the river once water levels have returned to safe levels.

Meanwhile on Monday, the CEO of Loulis Mills, Greece’s leading flour producer, Nikos Loulis said that the family was prepared to finance part of the restoration work. Speaking in Athens, Loulis said that his family, which started its business in the Epirus region, had a “moral obligation” to support the project.

Πηγή: ekathimerini.com

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