Tag Archives: Athens

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.

Two escaped jaguars shot dead in Greek zoo

Two rare jaguars (Panthera onca) have been killed earlier this month after the escapade in Attica zoo near Athens. The animal rights groups are indignant about the incident, demonstrating the utter disregard of life of rare spices.

The incident happened earlier in December but it was only revealed through an announcement by the Attica Zoological park this week.

According to the announcement, the two big cats, named Jenny and Spotty, escaped their controlled area, triggering the security protocol.

The announcement says that there was no danger to visitors and the staff during the incident, but it does not specify exactly how the two animals escaped.

“While every effort is made to prevent the escape of potentially deadly animals, it is impossible to predict all possible circumstances, and occasionally, such animals do manage to leave their enclosures, causing a very real risk of injury or death to people in the vicinity” said the text of the statement signed by David Williams-Mitchell Director of Communications of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria  (EAZA).

The explanation of the killing given was that anesthesia cannot be effective with such animals has raised outrage in social media. Many Greek animal rights activists users cited the incident at a New Orleans zoo in July when a vet team sedated a jaguar that had escaped from its habitat and killed six animals.

Jaguars have the strongest bite force of all cats and they kill their prey by biting through the skull. They enjoy a good dip and are excellent swimmers. In fact, they typically live near water and have a taste for aquatic creatures. (Video above).

Athens recalls ambassador from Moscow

Tensions between Athens and Moscow culminated in July, when Greece expelled two Russian diplomats from the country over national security concerns, prompting Russia to retaliate.

 

Greece has recalled its ambassador to Russia, Andreas Fryganas, according to mass media reports. It is unclear if Greece has plans to restore the previous level of diplomatic relations.

The experts say the protracted argument will hit Russian tourism to Greece, already losing support while state is increasingly interested in developing infrastructure at Black Sea, especially  in Crimea. Reorientation of tourist flows from Greece to Crimea would become a substantial resource for growing economy of the peninsula in need for renovation and modernization.

Earlier Greece expelled two Russian diplomats and imposed a travel ban on two other, accusing them of meddling in security issues and attempting to bribe Greek officials.

Explaining the decision over the Russian diplomats, Athens stated they intended to thwart a deal between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece, which would allow Macedonia to join NATO.

A protracted argument between Greece and Macedonia was settled this June, after Skopje decided to agree to change the name to North Macedonia.

Greece: €180 million in aid to refugees

Today the European Commission has announced new funding of €180 million for aid projects in Greece, including to scale up the flagship ‘Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation’ (ESTIA) programme which helps get refugees into urban accommodation and out of camps and provides them with regular cash assistance. The funding comes as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met today with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.

“Our humanitarian programmes for refugees in Greece are a clear and loud signal of European solidarity. We continue to deliver on our strong commitment to help refugees in Greece live more secure, normal and dignified lives, and facilitate their integration into the local economy and society. Our ESTIA programme is achieving real results to change people’s lives for the better. I pay special tribute to the Greek citizens and mayors who have welcomed refugees in their municipalities with great empathy and care,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. 

Launched in July 2017 with the UN Refugee Agency, ESTIA is the biggest EU aid operation in the country and works in line with the Greek government’s ‘out of camps’ policy. So far it has created more than 23,000 urban accommodation places and set up a cash assistance scheme serving more than 41,000 refugees and asylum seekers.

Six other contracts have been signed with NGOs to address pressing humanitarian needs.

Overall, the European Commission has mobilised over €1.5 billion of support for Greece to help manage the humanitarian situation, migration and the external borders, through various kinds of funding.

No bail-in for Greece

greece-demo

“There must not be a bail-in,” Jens Spahn told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.Greece must not be granted a “bail in” that would involve creditors taking a loss on their loans, Germany’s deputy finance minister said in an interview broadcast on Sunday, reiterating the German government’s opposition to debt relief for Athens.

“We think it is very, very likely that we will come to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that does not require a haircut,” he said, referring to losses that Greece’s creditors would have to take if debt was written off.