Greece: army evacuates travellers
Brussels 25.01.2022 Rescue crews, including the army, worked through the night to evacuate thousands of people stranded in their cars on an Athens motorway after a severe snowstorm swept across Greece.
A rare and severe snowstorm has blanketed parts of Greece and Turkey, causing chaos on the streets of major cities and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
Storm Elpida swept across Greece on Monday,January 24, covering Athens with heavy snow, which rarely falls in the Greek capital but has now occurred in a second consecutive year.
Athens has only seen six snow events since 2000, and while it usually experiences average snowfall of 1.3 centimeters (0.5 inches) annually, Elpida has already brought around 8 centimeters (3.1 inches), the most since February 2021, when 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) fell. The islands of Mykonos and Santorini also experienced rare snowfalls.
Parts of Athens were hit by power cuts, and the grid operator said crews were working to restore electricity.
Rescue crews, including the army, worked through the night to assist thousands of people stranded in their cars on a motorway in the Greek capital after the snowstorm swept through the country on Monday, January 24.
As temperatures fell overnight, soldiers handed out food, water and blankets to drivers, some of whom were stranded for more than 10 hours. TV footage showed the road and vehicles covered in snow.
More than 3,500 people had been evacuated by early Tuesday, some abandoning their cars on foot; around 1,200 cars remained stuck on the Attiki Odos, the capital’s main ring-road, government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou said.
“We had a very difficult night and a superhuman evacuation effort is underway on Attiki Odos,” Oikonomou told Greek television.
“We are still in a very difficult phase, as the forecasts indicate that we will face [weather] difficulties again in a while,” he said.