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Rains pound Greece, bodies recovered in Bulgaria

At least three people have died and four are missing after torrential rain flooded homes and businesses and destroyed infrastructure in central Greece, the fire brigade said.

Since Monday, Storm Daniel has triggered landslides, destroyed a bridge, caused the collapse of power poles and carried away dozens of cars in muddy waters, days after a two-week deadly wildfire died out in the north.

The body of an elderly woman was recovered close to a seaside community in the southern Pelion area near the port city of Volos on the Pagasetic Gulf on Wednesday, the fire brigade said. It later said that a man was hit by a vehicle in the area of Karditsa, raising the death toll from severe weather in Greece to three.

On Tuesday, a man died after a wall collapsed in bad weather in Volos and about 94 residents were moved to safety after torrential rain damaged part of their nursing home.

A Reuters journalist said that an overflowing river near the nursing home swallowed the road and flooded a train station in Volos.

Authorities were looking for four missing people, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said in a televised news conference.

Some 10 people were trapped on the banks of a torrent in southern Pelion, Michalis Mitzikos, a local mayor, told Skai television.

British travel company Jet2 said on Wednesday it was cancelling all flights and holidays to the Aegean island of Skiathos, the closest to Volos, up to September 12 due to the weather. The company had already cancelled six flights earlier this week.

Greece has said the weather was the most extreme, in terms of rainfall, since records have been kept.

“Yesterday the rainfall was very intense, unprecedented,” said Vasilis Batsios, 44, in Volos. “For 24 hours it was nonstop and there was a lot of water, the amount of water was unbelievable.”

The volume of water that fell in Pelion on Tuesday was equal to annual rainfall in London, meteorologist George Tsatrafyllias said on platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Police on Wednesday issued traffic warnings for the cities of Trikala and Karditsa as the rainstorm was not expected to weaken before Thursday.

Some 158 vehicles and hundreds of emergency crews have been operating in other areas hit by downpours across Greece to help people at risk or with health issues, Kikilias said.

Flash floods in Greece in 2017 killed 25 people and left hundreds homeless.

In northwest Turkey, at least five people were killed after heavy rains triggered flash floods, Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber.

Bodies recovered in Bulgaria 

Two bodies more were recovered in Bulgaria’s Black Sea coastal area on Wednesday, bringing to four the death toll from floods triggered by torrential rains, Bulgarian News Agency BTA reported.

The bodies of a local judge, her daughter – a veterinarian -, and a man were found in a submerged car that was washed away from a bridge into the sea when the river overflowed, regional police chief Emil Pavlov told journalists in Tsarevo.

The fourth victim was a man who was also swept away as he was attempting to cross the same bridge on foot, Pavlov said.

It was not immediately clear whose bodies were recovered on Wednesday.

A state of emergency was declared in Tsarevo municipality on Tuesday.

At a nearby Black Sea tourist resort on Arapya beach, cars and caravans were washed away by torrential rain and strong winds.

“For about 20 hours, it was pouring rain with a headwind, non stop – that was the reason why the river overflowed and caused all this damage. It swept cars and car trailers into the sea,” local resident Doctor Plamen Petrov told Reuters TV.

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