Flash floods on Athens outskirts leave 5 dead, 4 missing


ATHENS, Greece — Flash floods in the Greek capital’s western outskirts Wednesday converted roads into raging torrents of mud and debris, killing at least five people, inundating homes and businesses, and knocking out a section of a highway.

The fire department said another four people were reported missing by their families, and crews were searching for them.

Local media reported three people were transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries — two women suffering from hypothermia and a truck driver slightly injured as he escaped his truck, which was trapped in floodwaters.

All five fatalities — two women and three men — occurred in the Mandra area in separate incidents. The bodies of a woman and a man were initially found in their flooded homes, while later another two men and one woman were found dead, two in the yards of local businesses and one near a road.

The flooding came after severe weather overnight, with a storm hitting the area with driving rain. Roads turned into muddy torrents that carried away vehicles, tossing them into piles on roadsides and against fences and buildings. Several walls from yards and low buildings collapsed, filling roads with rubble.

A section of the highway between Athens and Corinth was completely knocked out, with floodwaters inundating an underpass, trapping cars, trucks and buses. Firefighters rescued passengers from a bus and from cars.

More bad weather was predicted for large swathes of Greece later Wednesday and in coming days, with storms predicted for western Greece and for parts of the Greek capital.

Firefighters received at least 340 calls for help to pump water from flooded buildings and rescue people trapped by the rising waters.

Local authorities shut schools in the areas of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, while the fire department appealed to the public to avoid heading to the area unless absolutely necessary in an effort to reduce traffic.

The deaths came a day after Greek authorities declared a state of emergency on the small Aegean Sea island of Symi after torrential rainfall there flooded homes and shops, swept vehicles into the sea and cut power after the local power station was flooded.



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