Athens rescue crews search for missing people after flash floods

Athens rescue crews search for missing people after flash floods
Scenes from the floods.

Rescue crews in Greece are searching for six people reported missing in the western Athens area following major flash flooding.

One of six people originally reported missing was found alive, the fire department said, but added that an additional man - a hunter - had been reported missing later on Thursday morning, bringing the total back to six.

All search-and-rescue operations are being conducted in the Mandra area on the western outskirts of the Greek capital, where the previous day's flooding turned roads into raging torrents of mud and debris, slamming cars into buildings and submerging sections of a motorway.

The flood, which followed an overnight storm, caused widespread destruction in Mandra and nearby areas, where authorities said about 500 homes and businesses had been damaged.

At least 14 people are dead as a result of the flash flooding.

Twelve of those killed on Wednesday - four women and eight men - were found in or near Mandra while the coast guard recovered the bodies of two more men believed to have been swept out to sea by the flood.

The disaster was among the worst to have hit the Greek capital in decades and the government declared Thursday a day of national mourning.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said it was making arrangements for a cruise ship to dock on the coast near the affected area to provide temporary accommodation for those left homeless by the flood.

It also said arrangements were being made with the army and navy to make available water.

Schools in the area remained closed for a second day while the Athens municipality shut down another 20 schools located near streams and creeks as the capital was lashed with more bad weather.

More storms lashed the Greek capital on Thursday morning, with heavy rainfall forcing the closure of one of its main avenues after the street flooded.

The fire department said on Thursday it had received 660 calls for help to pump water from flooded homes and businesses since Wednesday morning, while it had rescued 88 people trapped in houses and vehicles.

All fire services in the wider Athens area remained on alert as more bad weather was forecast for the area.

AP


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