Hundreds of people were rescued from villages in the flooded areas of central Greece on Friday. They were cut off from their surroundings for days because of the water masses. Many elderly and sick people in particular, but also pregnant women and small children, were taken by helicopter to a sports field in the city of Karditsa, as Greek media reported.

In total, more than 2,000 people are said to have been brought to safety in the past few days. Meanwhile, the number of deaths rose to seven on Friday.

Many of those rescued were at the end of their strength; some had not eaten for days and had hardly drunk anything. “I have experienced wars and famine, but never anything like this,” said 104-year-old Stavroula Brazioti, who was taken from the town of Piniada, to the broadcaster ERTnews. “An old neighbor was floating dead in her flooded kitchen, just five houses away from ours,” a woman from the town of Palamas told Skai. “The rescue workers said they would first save the living and then recover the dead.”

Mitsotakis promises those affected comprehensive help

Two Austrians were also missing. “At this time, we unfortunately have to confirm that two Austrian citizens are missing in Pelion, which was badly affected by the storms,” ​​the Foreign Ministry in Vienna confirmed to the Austrian news agency APA. A landlord of holiday apartments in the town of Xinovrysi had already told Greek media on Tuesday that a young Austrian couple had been caught in the flash flood and washed into the sea along with their holiday home. Since then, there has been no trace of the couple, who are said to come from Graz. However, there was no official confirmation from the Greek authorities as of Friday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised comprehensive help to those affected. “I want you to know that we will do everything humanly possible. I understand the anger and anger,” said Mitsotakis, referring to criticism from the parliamentary opposition, which found the government to have failed given the great damage. He is not hiding, but is there in these difficult times and will support the people and also the local administrations, said Mitsotakis.

There will be no discussion about resources, it’s about quick implementation. “We will find the money, whether it is national or European funds,” Mitsotakis said. “We are in a position to be able to do it.” On Thursday, EU Parliament Vice President Katarina Barley called for EU help. As with previous natural disasters in other member states, the EU solidarity fund should be used for reconstruction, the SPD politician said.

The Greek weather agency EMY declared the storm “Daniel” to be over. It had settled over the central Greek region of Thessaly since Monday and lasted until Thursday. The amount of rainfall from “Daniel” exceeded anything previously measured by Greek meteorologists. In some places, more than 700 liters of water per square meter fell in less than 24 hours.

Fields are under meters of water

A map published by the Greek weather service Meteo showed the extent of the flooding. The situation is particularly dramatic in the municipality of Karditsa, which resembles a large lake. A total of around 72,000 hectares were flooded.

The situation in the port city of Volos, with around 150,000 inhabitants, is also catastrophic: the city is largely cut off from the outside world because streets are flooded or destroyed and countless tons of mud have been washed into the city. Drinking water and food in supermarkets were running low, Greek media reported.

The damage is still hard to predict. The entire region of Thessaly is considered the “granary” of Greece; most of the fields here are under water, some of which are meters high. It is still difficult to estimate what this means for farmers and the harvest. Experts spoke in the Greek media of damage to infrastructure and agriculture that could run into the billions.