Authorities in Nafpaktos will lodge a request to declare a state of emergency in the Makyneia and Platanitis areas following the violent rainstorms that swept through Achaia and Aitoloakarnania in western Greece overnight and early on Sunday morning, local mayor Panagiotis Loukopoulos told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
Earlier on Sunday it was reported, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis had visited the area and met with Western Greece regional governor Apostolos Katsifaras in Antirrio. According to sources, Katsifaras briefed the minister on the situation prevailing in Achaia and Aitoloakarnania and the action taken to deal with the problems. The mayor said that many homes and fields were flooded in Makyneia and Platanitis and cars had been swept away by floodwater, though no problems were reported in mountain villages so far.
In addition to flooding and damaging houses, the intense rainfall has also caused damage to rural roads in Nafpaktia and Antirrio due to the collapse of earthbanks, as well as along the shoreline due to debris carried by floodwater, the head of civil protection for Aitoloakarnania Christos Tegas told ANA. He said the Western Greece Region has deployed all machinery at its disposal to clear roads of debris so that the public can safely access homes and stores.
According to the Western Greece fire brigade chief, Efthymios Georgakopoulos, the fire brigade carried out dozens of rescues and averted any "unpleasant events" while it was currently pumping water from about 15 houses, mainly in Nafpaktia. He noted that the fire brigade had been on heightened alert since Saturday afternoon, on standby to deal with the phenomena, and had managed to cope with extreme weather events in two different regions, at Drepano in Achaia and at Makyneia and Platanitis in Aitoloakarnania.
The incident in Drepano was particularly difficult, he said, where a large number of people had been trapped in a night club near an overflowing torrent and a large number of cars were involved, "but I can say that we did well."
Authorities reported that the Ionia Odos national highway between Antirrio and Gavrolimni, where the violent weather had earlier caused problems, had been fully reopened and traffic was now moving normally in both directions.
The extreme weather came in two waves, with violent rains and storms resuming at 8:15 on Sunday morning after a brief lull earlier on, bringing more calls for help to the fire brigade.
Earlier, at around dawn, the fire brigade had to rescue roughly 55 people at Platanitis, Agios Panteleimonas in Antirrio, Makyneia and Ionia Odos, with 80 fire brigade officers in 32 vehicles, a special tracked vehicles and two EMAK lifeboats responding to calls for help. Two people had to be rescued from a car caught in floodwater, and six people from basements, three trapped in a house, many people were transferred to safer locations, including 20 people trapped in eight vehicles in the Ionia Odos Klokova tunnel.
In Drepano, Achaia several hundred people were trapped in a night club near an overflowing torrent and the fire brigade had to transfer 58 people to safe locations in an operation involving 30 fire brigade officers and 12 vehicles.
Speaking to the ANA, Western Greece governor Apostolos Katsifaras said that fire brigade officers were making superhuman efforts to respond to the problems, while Public Power Corporation technicians were working feverishly to restore power to affected areas. He said the regional authority had decided to close the highway to traffic due to the heavy rain in order to check the tunnels, as well as the Rio-Antirrio Bridge to ensure that vehicles would not be trapped. At Drepano, he said heavy machinery was used to remove the side bars between the Corinth-Patras highway and the old national highway so that more cars could be evacuated.