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Death toll reaches 15, still 3 missing in floods. PM Tsipras declares ‘national mourning’

The drama in West Attica floods has no end.  The bodies of more and more people who died in the floods have been recovered. The majority of them were elderly trapped in their homes, unable to escape the powerful force of the rushing waters bring mud and rubble from the mountain.

By 6 o’ clock Wednesday afternoon, the unprecedented disaster just a couple of kilometers away form Greece’s capital Athens had cost the life of 14 people, ten men and five women. The youngest victim is a 35-year-old man, the oldest a woman 95 years old.

At least three people are still missing. The number of injured has increased to 17, one of them a woman in critical condition with drowning symptoms. She remains intubated.

The body of an 82-year-old woman was found by fire fighters short before 10 a.m. Wednesday. The woman was trapped inside her home when rushing waters and rubble coming down from the mountain flooded her home in Magoula, one of the areas mostly devastated by the floods.

A little later, the second victim, an 89-year-old man who was found dead in his basement home. He was also living in the same area as the first victim.

Around 11:30 am, one more man aged 60-65 years old was found dead in the yard of a home/business area between Mandra and Villia. “He was most likely swept away by the waters,” the spokeswoman of the Fire Service told media.

At 12 o’ clock noon, one 50-year-old man was found dead in the old Athens-Thibes highway. He was reported missing by his relatives since 4 o’ clock in the morning.

Half an hour later, state broadcaster ERT reported of a fifth victim, a woman. The 95-year-old was found at the iron bars of her home yard in Mandra. Apparently she was trying to escape the rushing waters.

By 12:40, citing sources from the Civil Protection, AthensNewsAgency reported that the death toll had reached seven. According to other media, the two bodies were found in the sea area in Elefsina.

3:0 pm Nine people dead – 7 men and 2 women -; 10 injured

3:44 pm One more woman was recovered dead from the floods. Total number of dead: 10

4:30 pm the body of a man was found

4:40 pm the body of a man was found in the basement of a house in Mandra as well as the body of  a woman found in a business place in the same area

5:15 pm the body of a man was found in a space outdoors at the 5.-6. km of Athens-Thebes highway.  He is the 14th victim.

At 6:30 pm, one more dead, an elderly man, was added to the lost list of victims who lost their lives actually for no reason.

Speaking to media, the manager of Thriasio hospital Konstantinos Palaioroutis said that “six out of the 15 dead have not been identified yet.”  According to ANT1 TV, the relative cannot identify the dead because of the deformation they suffered after been hit on rocks or vehicles.

Palaioroutis described the situation as “unprecedented” saying they have never seen so many victims coming in such a short time.

Most of the victims were drowned, some may have been hit by heavy items, the chief officials said adding that they will know more after the autopsy results.

The missing persons

Operations to find the three missing person are reportedly still under way

  • One elderly man was supposed to be in a basement where fire fighters are reportedly pumping waters.
  • Two people were trapped in a gasoline station at of the old Athens-Thebes highway. the area is flooded and turned into a lake.

So far the Fire Service has received more than 600 calls to pump water and rescued 86 trapped people.

The majority of Mandra houses and businesses is without electricity. Nea Peramos has major problem with water supply and the network has been damaged.

Many locals have no place to spend the night as their homes are flooded and/or destroyed.

Prime Minister Alexis Tripras said in a statement that “preparations in army and public facilities are underway so that not resident from the flood-hit areas goes homeless or hungry.”

“Declaring national mourning is the least we can do,” he said.

Mandra, Nea Paramos and Magoula have been declared in a “state of emergency.”

Locals said that when the disaster occurred at 6 in the morning, “it was not raining.” A huge stream coming from the mountain landed with enormous force in to the area, sweeping away people, animals, vehicles and everything in came into its way.

Many blame the “climate change” for the disaster, but fact is

  1. Mt Pateras has been left without a tree due to deforestation and wildfires
  2. At least old rivers and streams were closed when the area experienced a construction boom of factories and other facilities several decades ago.
  3. The water from the mountain due to torrential rains had no other way to reach the sea other than through the villages and the towns of the area.

See more footage and pictures from the unprecedented disaster here.

PS All this tragedy is happening just 20-25 km west from the Greek capital Athens.

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