Title Title
Floods follow deadly Greek wildfires Floods follow deadly Greek wildfires
Summary Summary
Wildfires close to Greek capital of Athens claimed the lives of scores of victims  Wildfires close to Greek capital of Athens have claimed the lives of scores of victims
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
   
[caption id="attachment_80763" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80763 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24124002/37647972_1811655395538469_3460177158628966400_o-620x409.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="409" /> Satellite image of Mati, Western Attica, where one of the wildfires started. Courtesy of the National Observatory of Athens.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_80763" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80763 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24124002/37647972_1811655395538469_3460177158628966400_o-620x409.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="409" /> Satellite image of Mati, Western Attica, where one of the wildfires started. Courtesy of the National Observatory of Athens.[/caption]
<b>Severe flooding has deluged north and northeastern Athens, only days after wildfires took the lives of at least 80 people. Heavy thunderstorms brought far more precipitation than normal in the suburbs of the Greek capital, turning roads into rivers. </b>  <b>Severe flooding has been noted in north and northeastern Athens, only days after wildfires took the lives of at least 80 people. Heavy thunderstorms brought far more precipitation than normal in the suburbs of the Greek capital, turning the roads into rivers. </b>
Kostas Lagouvardos of the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Observatory_of_Athens">National Observatory of Athens</a> told <em>WikiTribune: </em>"The municipality of Vrilissia saw 100mm of rain in 90 minutes. The areas of Pendeli, Marousi, Melissia and Kifisia had about 60-65mm in the same timeframe. Athens gets about 400mm of rain annually; this is a big divergence from the average. Thankfully, it didn't rain on the mountains where the burned forests are. However, we expect heavy rain tomorrow as well."  Kostas Lagouvardos of the National Observatory of Athens told <em>WikiTribune, </em>"The municipality of Vrilissia saw 100mm of rain in 90 minutes. The areas of Pendeli, Marousi, Melissia and Kifisia had about 60-65mm in the same timeframe. Athens gets about 400mm of rain annually; this is a big divergence from the average. Thankfully, it didn't rain on the mountains where the burned forests are. However, we expect heavy rain tomorrow as well."
In a radio interview, the deputy head of Attica, George Karameros, <a href="https://www.newsbomb.gr/ellada/news/story/903919/karameros-gia-kataigida-na-min-kykloforoyn-oi-pezoi-stin-amaroysioy-xalandrioy">asked</a> residents to not walk around the area of Marousi and advised they do not drive on two of the main roads.  
The Mayor of Marousi, George Patoulis, explained the sudden flooding. "Since 2007 we have been asking the Regional Authorities to provide us funding for rainwater management and anti-flooding infrastructure. With a lot of pressure, we have managed to secure a big part of our municipality. The only place where such works haven't been performed is where we saw severe flooding today, where the creek is narrow. The water quickly flooded over the creek and into a nearby parking."  
https://twitter.com/cOoL_aLeXgr/status/1022457879838818304  
https://twitter.com/BoutsikakisChr/status/1022472043923755011  
It was only a month ago when 15 people lost their lives during <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-floods/at-least-15-dead-in-flash-floods-on-greek-coast-idUSKBN1DF0RS">floods</a> in Mandra in West Attica, an area which has been hit with three "biblical" floods in the last three years. "They have yet to start wThere can be no doubt that flooding prevention works fall under the Regional Authority's responsibility. It is time they started doing their jobs managing taxpayer funds. "  
  <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">https://twitter.com/cOoL_aLeXgr/status/1022457879838818304 </span>
The floods came in the wake of the fatal fires which started last Monday, July 23, and spread rapidly. The first blaze is believed to have broken out in a tiny mountainous area of east Attica called <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Daou+Penteli+152+36,+Greece/@38.040437,23.9399296,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x14a19cb0ff08edd1:0x7f634138ff1a88a6!8m2!3d38.0409937!4d23.9450455">Daou Penteli</a>. It quickly spread – fanned by strong winds – towards the coast, where summer residences, resorts, and camps are full of people at the height of summer.  <strong>On Monday afternoon at 16:45 local time, a fire broke out in a tiny mountainous area of the Greek region of east Attica called <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Daou+Penteli+152+36,+Greece/@38.040437,23.9399296,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x14a19cb0ff08edd1:0x7f634138ff1a88a6!8m2!3d38.0409937!4d23.9450455">Daou Penteli</a>. It quickly spread – fanned by strong winds – towards the coast, where summer residences, resorts, and camps are full of people at the height of summer. At least <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfire/armageddon-fire-in-greece-kills-at-least-80-many-missing-idUSKBN1KF1DR">80</a> people have died and dozens are reported missing. </strong>
At least <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfire/armageddon-fire-in-greece-kills-at-least-80-many-missing-idUSKBN1KF1DR">80</a> people have died and dozens are reported missing. A total of <a href="http://www.kathimerini.gr/976468/article/epikairothta/ellada/47-agrotodasikes-pyrkagies-se-24-wres---poy-yparxoyn-energa-metwpa-ayth-th-stigmh">47</a> wildfires were raging between Monday and Tuesday throughout the country.  
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfires-tsipras/greek-pm-cuts-short-visit-to-bosnia-over-fires-raging-close-to-athens-idUSKBN1KD29K">returned</a> from an official trip to Bosnia and declared three days of national mourning.  “It is a difficult night for Greece,” he told reporters. Cyprus and Spain have come to Greece's aid by providing air support.  
The victims were found in the coastal area between Rafina and Nea Makri. The area is a holiday region just east of the capital of Athens, and many Athenians and tourists alike spend summers there.  
"The weather was extremely favourable for the fire to spread; the temperature was over 36°C, winds blew were at 6-7 on the Beaufort scale, at 120km/h in some places, and moisture in the atmosphere was very low," Lagouvardos said.  
The Central Union of Greek Municipalities issued a press release <a href="https://www.aftodioikisi.gr/ota/dimoi/kede-apoklistika-ypefthyni-gia-tin-plimmyra-sto-marousi-periferia-attikis/">blaming the regional administration</a> for the disaster (<em>news site in Greek</em>).  
  Lagouvardos told <em>WikiTribune</em> on Tuesday morning that the fire in east Attica was under control. However, around the same time on Monday another fire broke out in the western part of the Attica peninsula, near an oil refinery in <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/231007/article/ekathimerini/news/large-fires-rage-across-attica-two-people-confirmed-dead">Kineta</a>. Despite the efforts of firefighters, at about 7pm local time on Tuesday, authorities had to evacuate the surrounding <a href="http://www.kathimerini.gr/976600/article/epikairothta/ellada/prolhptikh-ekkenwsh-oikismwn-se-loytraki-kai-alepoxwri">residences</a>. A total of <a href="http://www.kathimerini.gr/976468/article/epikairothta/ellada/47-agrotodasikes-pyrkagies-se-24-wres---poy-yparxoyn-energa-metwpa-ayth-th-stigmh">47</a> wildfires were raging between Monday and Tuesday throughout the country.
  According to data from the EU's <a href="http://effis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/media/cms_page_media/40/Forest_fires_in_Europe_Middle_east_and_North_Africa_2016_final_pdf_JZU7HeL.pdf">Joint Research Centre</a>, between 2006 and 2015 an average 1,209 wildfires broke out in the country every year. Yet 2018 has been the deadliest year since <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Greek_forest_fires">2007</a>, when 84 people died and 2,700km² of forest were destroyed across the country.
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  The victims have been found in the coastal area between Rafina and Nea Makri. The area is a holiday region just east of the capital of Athens, and many Athenians and tourists alike spend summers there.
  "The weather was extremely favourable for the fire to spread; the temperature was over 36°C, winds blew were at 6-7 on the Beaufort scale, at 120km/h in some places, and moisture in the atmosphere was very low," Lagouvardos said.
https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811628018874540/ https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811628018874540/
<em>The fire in Eastern Attica, video courtesy of the National Observatory of Athens. </em> <em>The fire in Eastern Attica, video courtesy of the National Observatory of Athens. </em>
Houses and other buildings were quickly engulfed in flames, leaving residents little time to escape. Other people tried to escape by heading to the beach, or went into the water. Emergency crews <a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-wildfire/greek-wildfire-rages-near-athens-forcing-residents-from-homes-idUKKBN1KD1F4">found</a> the bodies of 26 people in a field overlooking the sea. Houses and other buildings were quickly engulfed in flames, leaving residents little time to escape. Other people tried to escape by heading to the beach, or went into the water. Emergency crews <a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-wildfire/greek-wildfire-rages-near-athens-forcing-residents-from-homes-idUKKBN1KD1F4">found</a> the bodies of 26 people in a field overlooking the sea.
"Residents and visitors in the area did not escape in time even though they were a few metres from the sea or in their homes," a spokesperson for the fire brigade told Reuters. "Residents and visitors in the area did not escape in time even though they were a few metres from the sea or in their homes," a spokesperson for the fire brigade told Reuters.
Eleana Balabani, a local described the scene.<em> </em>"We rushed to the beach, but even that wasn't safe. The fire spread almost to the shoreline. We had to stay in the water for six or seven hours."  Eleana Balabani, a local described the scene.<em> </em>"We rushed to the beach, but even that wasn't safe. The fire spread almost to the shoreline. We had to stay in the water for 6 or 7 hours."
[caption id="attachment_80794" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80794 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150308/WhatsApp-Image-2018-07-24-at-14.53.43-620x465.jpeg" alt="Smoke and flames over the beach at Mati, Greece on the evening of July 24. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0" width="620" height="465" /> Smoke and flames over the beach at Mati, Greece on the evening of July 24. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption] [caption id="attachment_80794" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80794 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150308/WhatsApp-Image-2018-07-24-at-14.53.43-620x465.jpeg" alt="Smoke and flames over the beach at Mati, Greece on the evening of July 24. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0" width="620" height="465" /> Smoke and flames over the beach at Mati, Greece on the evening of July 24. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_80793" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80793 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150307/WhatsApp-Image-2018-07-24-at-14.53.42-620x465.jpeg" alt="Residents stay away from the beach as smoke covers the sky in Mati, Greece; 24 July. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0" width="620" height="465" /> Residents stay away from the beach as smoke covers the sky in Mati, Greece; 24 July. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption] [caption id="attachment_80793" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="wp-image-80793 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150307/WhatsApp-Image-2018-07-24-at-14.53.42-620x465.jpeg" alt="Residents stay away from the beach as smoke covers the sky in Mati, Greece; 24 July. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0" width="620" height="465" /> Residents stay away from the beach as smoke covers the sky in Mati, Greece; 24 July. Photo by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption]
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A total of 700 people were found by the coastguard and local fishermen on the beaches. Another 19 were found at sea, in addition to four dead bodies, reported Reuters. A total of 700 people were found by the coastguard and local fishermen on the beaches. Another 19 were found at sea, in addition to four dead bodies, reported Reuters.
Nina Leopoulou, who was returning from her holidays, told <em>WikiTribune </em>that she was on a ferry to Rafina that spotted members of a group of 10 Danish tourists who were rescued from the sea. Nina Leopoulou, who was returning from her holidays, told <em>WikiTribune </em>that she was on a ferry to Rafina that spotted members of a group of 10 Danish tourists who were rescued from the sea.
The Danes <a href="http://www.in.gr/2018/07/23/greece/entopistikan-oi-danoi-pou-xathikan-varka-sto-mati/">reportedly</a> <em>(in.gr)</em> saw fire approaching a beach they were on, and decided to escape on a boat. They were found in the sea by the passing ferry at around 10pm on Monday. The Danes <a href="http://www.in.gr/2018/07/23/greece/entopistikan-oi-danoi-pou-xathikan-varka-sto-mati/">reportedly</a> <em>(in.gr)</em> saw fire approaching a beach they were on, and decided to escape on a boat. They were found in the sea by the passing ferry at around 10pm on Monday.
"Some of them were really young children. I wonder how their parents protected them in the sea, at night, for so long. From the moment we spotted them, it was at least an hour before we found the rest of them," said Leopoulou. "Some of them were really young children. I wonder how their parents protected them in the sea, at night, for so long. From the moment we spotted them, it was at least an hour before we found the rest of them," said Leopoulou.
[caption id="attachment_80756" align="aligncenter" width="465"]<img class="wp-image-80756 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24122027/9B9C6B22-05E8-478C-AC11-E0500BCDE787-465x620.jpeg" alt="Tourists are rescued from the sea after fleeing from wildfires by a passing ferry on Monday July 24." width="465" height="620" /> Tourists are rescued from the sea after fleeing from wildfires by a passing ferry on Monday July 24. Photo by Nina Leopoulou. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption] [caption id="attachment_80756" align="aligncenter" width="465"]<img class="wp-image-80756 size-medium" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24122027/9B9C6B22-05E8-478C-AC11-E0500BCDE787-465x620.jpeg" alt="Tourists are rescued from the sea after fleeing from wildfires by a passing ferry on Monday July 24." width="465" height="620" /> Tourists are rescued from the sea after fleeing from wildfires by a passing ferry on Monday July 24. Photo by Nina Leopoulou. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0[/caption]
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  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfires-tsipras/greek-pm-cuts-short-visit-to-bosnia-over-fires-raging-close-to-athens-idUSKBN1KD29K">returned</a> from a trip to Bosnia and will hold an emergency cabinet meeting in the presidential mansion on Tuesday afternoon. “It is a difficult night for Greece,” he told reporters. He declared three days of national mourning. Cyprus and Spain have come to Greece's aid by providing air support.
Smoke from the fires reached the Greek capital. Maria Nyktari, a resident of north eastern Athens, said: "I woke up in the middle of the night coughing. At first, I thought it was the air-conditioning. It was when I woke up at around 8am, and looked out of the window to see a dark cloud, that I realised what was happening."  Smoke from the fires has reached the Greek capital. Maria Nyktari, a resident of north eastern Athens, described how the smoke reached the city. "I woke up in the middle of the night coughing. At first, I thought it was the air-conditioning. It was when I woke up at around 8am, and looked out of the window to see a dark cloud, that I realised what was happening," she said.
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[video width="480" height="848" mp4="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150706/WhatsApp-Video-2018-07-24-at-14.53.41.mp4"][/video] [video width="480" height="848" mp4="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2018/07/24150706/WhatsApp-Video-2018-07-24-at-14.53.41.mp4"][/video]
<em>Scenes near the beach at Mati on the evening of July 24. Video by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0</em> <em>Scenes near the beach at Mati on the evening of July 24. Video by Eleana Balabani. Credit: WikiTribune. License: CC 0</em>
  &nbsp;
Meanwhile, in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, about 500km north of Athens, the fire brigade had to <a href="http://www.kathimerini.gr/976382/article/epikairothta/ellada/katarraktwdhs-vroxh-kai-xalazoptwsh-plhttei-th-8essalonikh">cope with </a>severe hail and rain.  Meanwhile, in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, about 500km north of Athens, the fire brigade had to <a href="http://www.kathimerini.gr/976382/article/epikairothta/ellada/katarraktwdhs-vroxh-kai-xalazoptwsh-plhttei-th-8essalonikh">tackle</a> severe hail and rain.
https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811187042251971/ https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811187042251971/
https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811239345580074/ https://www.facebook.com/Meteo.Gr/videos/1811239345580074/
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<h2>The response</h2> <h2>The response</h2>
A <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/231080/article/ekathimerini/news/atheist-pm-to-blame-for-deadly-fires-says-greek-bishop">senior cleric</a> declared that the fire was a result of having an "atheist Prime Minister." The <a href="http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/ta-metra-stirixis-ton-pligenton-apo-tis-fonikes-pyrkagies">government</a> has pledged €20 million in relief efforts. A <a href="http://www.ekathimerini.com/231080/article/ekathimerini/news/atheist-pm-to-blame-for-deadly-fires-says-greek-bishop">senior cleric</a> declared that the fire was a result of having an "atheist Prime Minister." The <a href="http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/ta-metra-stirixis-ton-pligenton-apo-tis-fonikes-pyrkagies">government</a> has pledged €20 million in relief efforts.
<a href="http://www.amna.gr/home/article/279162/Euth-Lekkas-Mandra-kai-Rafina-einai-oi-idies-periptoseis-poleodomikis-kai-chorotaxikis-authairesias">Politicians</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Petros_Petrakis/status/1022018537496498178">citizens</a> alike have pointed out the lack of state preparation for such disasters, and the dangers brought by unregulated urban development. An online petition demanding that the Greek Parliament doesn't allow fresh construction on the burned land swiftly registered almost 75,000 <a href="https://secure.avaaz.org/el/petition/VOYLI_TON_ELLINON_Amesi_anakiryxi_OLON_ton_kamenon_ektaseon_os_ANADASOTEON/?anBnskb">signatures</a>.  <a href="http://www.amna.gr/home/article/279162/Euth-Lekkas-Mandra-kai-Rafina-einai-oi-idies-periptoseis-poleodomikis-kai-chorotaxikis-authairesias">Politicians</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/Petros_Petrakis/status/1022018537496498178">citizens</a> alike have pointed out the lack of state preparation for such disasters, and the dangers brought by unregulated urban development. An online petition demanding that the Greek Parliament doesn't allow for the burned land to be turned into holdings for further construction has registered almost 75,000 <a href="https://secure.avaaz.org/el/petition/VOYLI_TON_ELLINON_Amesi_anakiryxi_OLON_ton_kamenon_ektaseon_os_ANADASOTEON/?anBnskb">signatures</a>.
Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Portugal <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfire/greek-fires-kill-at-least-seven-near-athens-residents-flee-homes-idUSKBN1KD1F9">offered</a> help in the form of firefighting planes and fire brigades. The Prime Minister of North Macedonia (who recently agreed <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/06/15/diplomacy/whats-the-deal-with-macedonia/74970/">an end to a long-running dispute with Greece </a>over his country's former designation as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) <a href="https://www.facebook.com/zaevzoran/posts/10156739104527932">pledged</a> another $6 million to help its southern neighbour.  Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Portugal <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-wildfire/greek-fires-kill-at-least-seven-near-athens-residents-flee-homes-idUSKBN1KD1F9">offered</a> help in the form of firefighting planes and fire brigades. The Prime Minister of F.Y.R.O.M. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/zaevzoran/posts/10156739104527932">pledged</a> another $6 million to help its southern neighbour. The two countries are trying to solve a decades-long <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/06/15/diplomacy/whats-the-deal-with-macedonia/74970/">dispute</a> over nomenclature.
According to data from the EU's <a href="http://effis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/media/cms_page_media/40/Forest_fires_in_Europe_Middle_east_and_North_Africa_2016_final_pdf_JZU7HeL.pdf">Joint Research Centre</a>, between 2006 and 2015 an average 1,209 wildfires broke out in Greece each year. But 2018 has been the deadliest year since <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Greek_forest_fires">2007</a>, when 84 people died and 2,700km² of forest were destroyed across the country.  
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  Six people <a href="https://www.newsbomb.gr/ellada/news/story/903504/ektakto-fotia-attiki-prosagoges-atomon-poy-kinoyntan-ypopta-sto-mati">were</a> taken in to be questioned by the police, who thought their behaviour in the area of Mati "suspicious."
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