Disasters

published : 2023-09-09

Deadly Floods Devastate Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey

Massive Rescue Mission Underway With Over 1,000 Rescuers and 20 Helicopters

Aerial view of flooded villages in central Greece, taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Severe flooding in central Greece has left a trail of destruction, claiming the lives of 10 people, with four still missing, according to the country's civil protection minister.

In a massive rescue operation, over 1,000 rescuers and 20 helicopters are involved in evacuating hundreds of people from inundated villages to safety.

The rainfall-triggered floods have also inflicted damage in neighboring Bulgaria and Turkey, resulting in a total of 22 deaths across the three countries since the heavy rains began on Tuesday.

The downpours in Greece turned peaceful streams into violent torrents, causing dams to burst, roads and bridges to wash away, and even cars to be carried into the sea.

Authorities have reported that some areas experienced double the average annual rainfall in Athens within only 12 hours.

Rescue helicopter airlifting people to safety from a flooded area near Larissa, Greece, taken with a Nikon D850

Although the rainstorms have subsided by now, the floodwaters continue to rise as the Pineios River, near the city of Larissa, burst its banks, leading to evacuation orders for multiple areas.

Residents speak of a tragic situation, witnessing water levels in their flooded neighborhoods rising minute by minute.

The civil protection minister, Vassilis Kikilias, has emphasized the need for constant vigilance, as the Pineios River levels remain unpredictable and the flooding could intensify at any moment.

Rescue efforts have been ongoing, with boat and vehicle operations already saving 1,700 people, and 296 individuals have been airlifted to safety by helicopters from 14 villages, including 150 requiring immediate medical care.

More than 1,000 rescuers and 20 helicopters, including support from Swiss helicopters that had previously assisted in combating wildfires, are carrying out the ongoing rescue mission.

Collapsed buildings in a village affected by the devastating floods, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, currently visiting the affected areas, has reached out to the European Union to request financial aid for rebuilding efforts following this disaster.

Ensuring the safety of citizens in danger remains the top priority, with many people trapped in villages that have become inaccessible due to washed-out roads and rockfalls.

Heart-wrenching scenes of devastation have been witnessed, with houses flooded up to their roofs and reports of buildings collapsing completely.

The recent floods followed devastating wildfires that claimed numerous lives and caused extensive damage to forests, farmlands, and homes.

Let this gripping tale of natural disaster serve as a reminder of the urgent need to address the climate crisis and commit to robust civil protection measures.