Homes flooded as storms batter Athens and fire-hit Greek island

Severe storms have swept across Greece, flooding hundreds of homes in Athens and prompting evacuations on the island of Evia that was ravaged by summer wildfires.

escuers were also preparing to use helicopters to lift stranded people off rooftops in flooded and remote areas on the north-western island of Corfu, said civil protection and climate change minister Christos Stylianides.

“There is no doubt that we are facing a dangerous weather phenomenon that is very serious in some parts of the country,” said Mr Stylianides, a former European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management.

On Evia, at least three areas hit by the wildfires in August were being evacuated.


A flooded street in Athens (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Several dozen people were moved out of their homes in the north of the island and were making arrangements to stay with friends or at hotel rooms booked by the regional authority.

The forest fires in northern Evia, about 80 miles north of Athens, left the area more vulnerable to flash floods.

The storms battered the Greek capital and other parts of southern Greece on Thursday, causing traffic disruption and road closures.

The fire service received more than 300 calls in the capital to pump water out of flooded homes, authorities said.


Passengers wade through water after evacuating a bus in Athens (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

Dozens of vehicles were stranded on flooded roads, forcing the people inside to abandon their cars and wade through the water to safety.

The heavy rainfall also disrupted public transport services, but flights at Athens International Airport were unaffected.

The government issued alerts in Greek and English to mobile phones in affected areas, urging people to “avoid unnecessary movement and areas that have been or may be flooded”.

Schools in Athens, on Evia and in a region in northern Greece near the country’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, will be closed on Friday.

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