Two dead as rare cyclone spins Greece into ‘total catastrophe’
Since storm ‘Ianas’ first hit, the Greek city of Karditsa has been turned into a lake
Two people died as storm “Ianos” pounded central Greece on Saturday, flooding streets and homes.
The rare Mediterranian hurricane - known as a Medicane - uprooted trees and caused power cuts on the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese on Friday.
It then swept through central Greece hitting mainly areas around the cities of Karditsa and Farsala.
We're dealing with a total catastrophe.
The body of an elderly woman was found in a flooded house in a village near Farsala, and authorities were searching for two more people who had been reported missing.
The rain turned the city into a lake and one bridge collapased, TV images showed. A fire brigade official later said a 63-year-old man was found dead near a hospital in the city of Karditsa. It was not immediately clear whether he was among the two people reported missing.
"We're dealing with a total catastrophe," Nikolaos Gousios, a resident at Farsala, told state TV.
Train connections between Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki were suspended.
Since “Ionas” first hit, the fire brigade said it had received more than 2,450 calls for assistance to rescue trapped people, cut down trees, and pump out water from homes and stores.
The electricity grid was struggling to cope, and efforts were being made to restore power in Karditsa and the Ionian islands.
Five vessels sank off Zakynthos and Lefkada on Friday, the coast guard said.
On Saturday, the storm reached the greater Athens region, Attica. There were no reports of damage so far.
Cyclones like Ianos were first recorded in Greece in 1995 and have become more frequent in recent years. A similar storm hit the country in 2018. In 2017, flash floods killed 25 people and left hundreds homeless.
Updated: September 22, 2020 09:46 AM