A violent storm that ripped across northern Greece has killed six tourists and injured at least 30-50 others. Gale force winds and heavy rain pummeled Halkidiki, near Thessaloniki on Wednesday. Witnesses claim the freakish storm only lasted 20 minutes, but the toll of devastation was severe.
A state of emergency was declared by officials, as the head of civil protection of northern Greece, Charalambos Steriadis described the situation as an “unprecedented phenomenon.” The storm followed a spell of very hot weather in Greece with temperatures soaring to 37C (98F) over the past two days. The footage below from RTTV in Greece reveals a part of the aftermath of the storm.
One couple from Czech Republic perished when their caravan was literally blown away. Two Romanians and two Russians were also killed in the storm. Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre which treated many of the injured, told reporters:
“It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this. It was so abrupt, so sudden.”
A Romanian woman and her child were killed when the roof of a restaurant collapsed at Nea Plagia, officials say, while a Russian man and his son were killed by a falling tree near their hotel in the seaside resort of Potidea.
The Hellenic National Meteorological Service had in effect a storm warning for Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, Serres, Kilkis, Kavala, Drama, Xanthi and Rodop from Tuesday with gale force winds expected until early Thursday morning.
Many structures have also been severely damaged by this atypical summer storm. Greece’s minister for citizen protection, Michalis Chryssohoidis, is due to visit the region today.