Authorities assessing damages from torrential rain and gale-force winds

Flooding following torrential rains and gale-force winds in many areas of Greece led to traffic interruptions on main roads, the collapse of a historic stone bridge and the pleas of a mayor in central Greece for authorities to place the area under emergency measures on Sunday.


Alternate Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Christos Spirtzis travelled to Arta, northwestern Greece, on Sunday following the order of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to coordinate efforts to cope with extensive damage due to the rains. After meeting with regional officials, he said the areas authorities were all placed on alert while schools would remain closed on Monday.

Egnatia Road, the major road crossing the north, was flooded at the Kalamia-Kila section (or 200th km) of Kozani, southwest of Thessaloniki, after the heavy rainfall on Saturday night. Traffic has been diverted to the old National Road on Kila-Vateros. The management company said that the plumbing systems operated normally but the natural drainage receptors could not handle the excess of water.

Roads collapsed in several northern areas, while the western and central mainland sustained heavy damages in several areas from flooding, collapsed structures and landslides. In western Greece, a historic bridge close to the city of Arta collapsed from risen waters on Sunday morning and nearby villages were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The Bridge of Plaka was the largest stone bridge in the Balkans, with an opening of its single arch measuring 40.20 metres and 21 metres tall at its apex. It was built in the 19th century, repaired in 1866 after its arch collapsed. It was best known as the location of a pact among all resistance forces against the Nazi occupiers, signed on February 29, 1944. It survived German airplane bombing and was used to celebrate Epiphany Day.

In Achaia, northern Peloponnese, river Charadros had to be diverted to save villages from flooding, the deputy district manager Grigoris Alexopoulos told ANA-MPA. Mayor of Agrinio Giorgos Papanastassiou in western Greece requested that the area be placed under emergency because of flooding and landslides, which also occurred in various areas of Greece.