evia

Update: Seven people have been found dead, and one is missing, after a storm hit the island of Evia.

According to the fire service, they responded to 495 calls, of which 47 concerned people trapped in their homes and cars. Eight of the 47 were evacuated by helicopter. The rest were calls to drain flooded homes.

“We ask our fellow citizens, in the areas where the floods have occurred, to be especially careful, to avoid unnecessary movements and to follow the instructions of the competent authorities,” the Fire Brigade said.

Among the victims was a 8-month-old baby from the village of Politika, who passed away after slipping from the hands of his father, who lost his balance from the rushing waters.

“The torrent caught them while they were asleep. The frightened father got up, picked up the baby and ran with his wife to leave the house. As soon as they opened the door of the house to get out, the torrent pushed them and the baby slipped from his arms. The mother was shouting for her child, they had no electricity, they could not see anything, it was pitch dark and they were all swept away by the water,” a local resident told media.

Hours earlier, a man and woman in their 80s were found unconscious by firefighters in two houses in the same village.

The heavy rainfall flooded homes and capsized vehicles. Some residents also sought refuge on top of their homes, other buildings, or on trees.

“I have not experienced such a thing for thirty years. And when I saw people shouting and the water dragging cars and people, it was over. It is the ultimate disaster,” a resident told SKAI.

A few hours after the disaster, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias arrived on the scene to assess the situation. “It is a difficult day today. The state mechanism put in a great struggle. The forecast for this phenomenon was 63 mm of rain in 24 hours. The last count is over 300 mm. Many lives have been saved today. Our thoughts are with the people who did not make it. We must give our best to build protection structures,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, will visit Evia on Monday. “I express my deep sorrow for our fellow human beings who lost their lives in Evia and my heartfelt condolences to their loved ones,” he tweeted.