November 15, 2017
15 dead in Athens flash floods

The death toll from flash floods that have devastated areas around the Greek capital Athens has hit 15, according to the Greek Health Ministry.
Yianna Krikouki, mayor of Mandra, one of the most affected areas north-west of Athens, said residents "were trapped in their homes, the water is one meter (3 feet) high inside some houses, and (they) have no electricity and water." More than 20 people have been injured and one is still missing in a disaster that local media is describing as "biblical."
Speaking on Greek radio, Krikouki, said that there was "nothing standing in the entire area of Mandra" and the town is "now mourning its lost fellow citizens."

15 dead in Athens flash floods

A state of emergency has been declared in the West Attica region, where Mandra is located. Parts of the national highway system have been destroyed and many roads remain shut. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been damaged.
Entire areas are without water or power -- one firefighter told local media that "a large part of the electricity network is severely damaged. We are doing what we can".
Over 20 schools will remain shut Thursday. One elderly local resident, who has been living in the area since the 1960s, told local media that she's never seen anything like the devastation she witnessed.
"I don't know what to do," she said to local TV channel Skai. "People have drowned in this very street."
National mourning
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared three days of national mourning.
"It is a very difficult time for all of Greece," he said, according to Greece's national broadcaster.
"I want to express my deep sorrow, sincere condolences to the families of the victims. And (I want to) pledge that we will stand by them with all the means in our disposal."
Also on Wednesday, Tsipras called an emergency meeting with relevant ministers, the head of the fire department and the Greater Athens prefect.

15 dead in Athens flash floods

A picture shows damages and floodwaters in the town of Mandra, northwest of Athens, on November 15, 2017, after heavy overnight rainfalls in the area.
As many as 86 people have been rescued from flood waters, with the injured transported to hospital.
The fire department said it has received at least 600 calls for assistance and operations continue, according to its press office.
An Athens prosecutor has ordered an urgent preliminary investigation into the causes of the destruction. The floods were triggered by heavy rains.

15 dead in Athens flash floods

Condolences
European Commission President Claude Juncker expressed his condolences in a statement.
"I am saddened to learn about the many people who have lost their lives and loved ones during the deadly floods affecting central Greece. On behalf of the whole European Commission, I would like to express our full solidarity with the Greek people and authorities at this difficult time," it said.
"A tragedy in any of our Member States is a tragedy for all of Europe. We stand ready to support Greece in any way we can. Our EU emergency assistance tools are at the full disposal of the authorities."

15 dead in Athens flash floods

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said that his agency was in contact with the Greek authorities on Wednesday.
"Europe stands by Greece," he tweeted.
"Our thoughts are with our fellow citizens who remain trapped and in the efforts to rescue them."
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