"Biblical disaster:" Destructive flash floods rage through Athens outskirts, 21 killed

A severe overnight storm turned roads of towns on the outskirts of Greek capital Athens into raging rivers of mud and debris on November 15, 2017. At least 19 people have been killed and many injured. "Everything is lost, the disaster is biblical," authorities said. Severe weather is expected to continue over most of the country and peak on Friday, November 17.

Torrential rains hit Greek capital Athens overnight Wednesday, November 15, leaving at least 21 people dead and 1 missing in the town of Mandra, west of Athens. Many of the dead were elderly people whose bodies were found inside their homes.

According to the Greek Reporter, the industrial towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos, and Megara, 27 km (17 miles) west of Athens, were the worst hit by the severe storm that started after midnight (local time). Roads quickly turned into fast-flowing rivers of mud and debris, flooding homes and stranding drivers on roads.

"Everything is lost. The disaster is biblical," Mandra Mayor Yianna Krikouki said.

The storm hit just several hours after the Greek government declared a state of emergency on the island of Symi, devastated by sudden downpours that swept cars into sea, damaged homes and cut off electricity and water supplies.

Meteorologists say that the weather front will remain over Greece in the next few days and will peak on Friday, November 17.

"Greece seems really in for it. Up to 400+ mm (15.7 inches) of rain expected over the next 3 - 4 days," Severe Weather Europe meteorologists said.

Update

November 16 @ 17:00 UTC

The flooding in Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara was described as the worst in 20 years.

"The water came down the mountain, millions of tonnes," Nea Peramos deputy mayor told state broadcaster ERT as locals braced for another night of heavy rainfall. "Our roads are completely destroyed. 1 000 homes have been flooded, that’s a third of the town," he added.

The greater Athens governor’s office said the "force and danger posed by the (weather front) is unprecedented."

"We had another incident in 1999 but it was nothing like this," said Megara mayor Grigoris Stamoulis.

The fire service said it had received more than 600 calls for help and dispatched nearly 200 firemen to the area.

Featured image: Destructive flash floods in Mandra, western Attica, Greece on November 15, 2017. Credit: Nikos Dioletes / Severe Weather Greece

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