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Greece: Emergency services clear debris after deadly storm

Greek emergency services were clearing debris and searching for people potentially still trapped by floodwaters Monday after flash floods sparked by a storm on the island of Evia left seven people dead and one missing over the weekend.

The dead include an elderly couple found in their flooded home Sunday morning, and an 8-month-old baby found in a flooded ground-floor apartment.

Parts of Evia saw rainfall that reached 80% of the annual rainfall for the area in the space of a few hours overnight Saturday to Sunday, Greece’s meteorological service has said.

Debris covers the beach after a storm from the opposite island of Evia, as a man takes photographs in Chalkoutsi village, about 60 kilometres north of Athens, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Seven people, including an elderly couple and an 8-month-old baby, have been found dead as a storm hit the Greek island of Evia, authorities said Sunday. One person was still missing and dozens of others were trapped by floodwaters in their homes and cars. (AP PhotoThanassis Stavrakis)

A river burst through its banks and flooded part of the village of Politika, forcing many residents to climb to the rooftops of their homes. Another river in the village of Bourtzi also burst its banks. Authorities estimated that 3,000 residences had been partially or totally damaged by floodwaters and police said many local roads are impassable.

The floodwaters swept away cars and storage containers, tossing them into streets and against the walls of buildings. On Monday local authorities, emergency crews and residents were clearing debris and piles of mud from streets, homes and stores.

Heavy rain started falling at about midnight Saturday and firefighters responded to over 50 fires caused by lightning. By late afternoon Sunday, 97 people had been safely evacuated from their homes and cars, 30 of them by helicopter, and over 600 homes had been drained of floodwaters, the fire service said.

Debris covers the beach after a storm from the opposite island of Evia, as people sit on the benches in Chalkoutsi village, about 60 kilometres north of Athens, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Seven people, including an elderly couple and an 8-month-old baby, have been found dead as a storm hit the Greek island of Evia, authorities said Sunday. One person was still missing and dozens of others were trapped by floodwaters in their homes and cars. (AP PhotoThanassis Stavrakis)

Debris covers the beach after a storm from the opposite island of Evia, as an elderly couple sits on a bench in Chalkoutsi village, about 60 kilometres north of Athens, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Seven people, including an elderly couple and an 8-month-old baby, have been found dead as a storm hit the Greek island of Evia, authorities said Sunday. One person was still missing and dozens of others were trapped by floodwaters in their homes and cars. (AP PhotoThanassis Stavrakis)