Rainstorm 'Daniel'

After the July heatwave 'Cleon' and the catastrophic deadly wildfires in August, comes the destructive Rainstorm 'Daniel'.  The thunderstorms and torrential rain reached Ermionida during the early hours of Wednesday 6th September 2023 after causing devastating flooding throughout Greece the day before. Rainstorm 'Daniel' has already claimed sixteen fatalities, with three people reported missing, including an Austrian honeymoon couple*, when their holiday home was destroyed.  While the rains have brought relief by helping to bring under control a massive wildfire in Dadia National Park, which had destroyed over 81,000 hectares of forested area, Greece continues to battle the aftermath of a challenging wildfire season, with 28 people having lost their lives and around 150,000 hectares burned.  

The severe weather conditions are expected to last until Thursday, and authorities remain on high alert.  The 'Daniel' weather system has left a trail of destruction in the country as thousands of people confronted unprecidented conditions struggling to save their lives, abandoning property and cars.  Rivers overflowed and turned into torrents, roads were sliced in half, bridges collapsed, while beaches were filled with cars that were washed away by the force of the water.  Meteorologists had warned of the heaviest rainfall ever in Greece.  Zagora has had more than 754mm of rain in one day, when the annual rainfall in Athens is about 400mm. 

Authorities deployed divers and swift water rescue specialists as residents in some of the worst-hit areas took refuge on the roofs of their homes to escape floodwaters that rose up to 3 metres.  The Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection said more than 3,500 people have been rescued so far and three people have been reported missing.  The flooding also affected the residential outskirts of Athens and caused damage further south in Epidavros, Kranidi and Porto Heli.  The island of Skiathos was badly affected, with international flights cancelled until Friday, stranding hundreds of European travellers for days at the islands' airport. 

In Ermioni, Rainstorm 'Daniel' demolished the outer stone wall and roof of an abandoned building in the town centre, crushing a car that was parked in the road alongside the old property.  There were mud-slides around countryside properties and on many country roads around Ermionida, exposing recently resurfaced roads and recently filled pot-holes, in addition to toppled trees and broken branches, flooded olive groves and fruit orchards.  The Ermionida Municipality worked throughout the storm to limit the destruction.

On Saturday 9th September, rescue teams evacuated people out of floodwaters in inflatable boats and in bulldozers as they moved into villages hit hardest by the rainstorm that has killed at least fifteen people in central Greece.  Rainstorm 'Daniel', which meteorologists said was the worst to hit the country since records began in 1930, pummelled Greece for three days from Tuesday, leaving a trail of ruin after a record summer heatwave that led to massive wildfires last month, the worst recorded in EU history.  Bulgaria and Turkey also had record-breaking rainfall resulting in flash floods that have claimed the lives of at least 22 individuals.

More than 100,000 animals have died in the severe flooding in Thessaly, and if there is no immediate aid in animal feed, then the livestock that survived the disaster will die of starvation.  Farmers and the agricultural sector are the main victims of this tragedy.  Hellenic Armed Forces are helping to remove dead livestock, transporting them in refrigerated trucks to certified incineration sites.

*Two Austrians who went missing in the recent floods have been confirmed dead as DNA tests on two recovered bodies confirmed their identities.  Results of the DNA analyses confirmed they were the missing honeymoon couple from Graz in Austria.            

On Sunday 10th September, Rainstorm 'Daniel' turned south across the Mediterranean Sea and caused deadly flooding along the northern coast of Africa, particularly in Benghazi and Derna in Libya.  The wost-affected place was the port city of Derna which had a population of over 90,000, much of which is under water after two nearby dams collapsed, sending a tsunami of water through the centre of the city, destroying four bridges and sweeping entire neighborhoods and people into the sea.  At least 11,300 deaths have been reported by the Libyan Red Crescent and the UN, with about 10,100 people still missing, with thousands left homeless.

On Sunday 17th September, five members of a Greek medical rescue team mission heading towards Derna were killed, following a horrific road accident involving the team bus and a Land Rover jeep travelling in the opposite direction.  Six Libyan occupants of the jeep were killed as the vehicles burst into flames following the collision.  Thirteen members of the medical team on the bus were seriously injured.  The Greek medical mission were on their way to join other rescue teams already in Derna from other countries.

On Thursday 28th September, twenty days after Storm 'Daniel' flooded Thessaly in central Greece causing extensive damage, the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry announced that damage to infrastructure alone would cost 600 million euros to repair or replace.  According to the ministry, 70.2kms of roads, 79 bridges and 130 other works (including dams and irrigation works) were damaged.  The floods caused by 'Daniel' washed away railway tracks in 16 places and 79 schools in the region were flooded.