Two people have died as a cyclone pounded central Greece, flooding streets and homes, the authorities said on Saturday.
Cyclone Ianos, classified as a Mediterranean hurricane, or “medicane,” uprooted trees and caused power outages on the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese. It swept through central Greece, hitting areas in and around the cities of Karditsa and Farsala.
The body of an elderly woman was found in a flooded house in a village near Farsala, while a 63-year-old man was found dead in Karditsa, fire brigade officials said.
The search was continuing for two other people who have been reported missing, the officials added.
Authorities said a woman who is missing ignored instructions by firefighters and police not to drive into an area where a bridge spans a river.
Emergency workers rescued more than 600 people.
“We’re dealing with a total catastrophe,” Farsala resident Nikolaos Gousios told state TV.
The heavy rainfall turned Karditsa, in one of Greece’s biggest plains, into a lake.
Video footage showed flooded highways and agricultural land turned into mud lakes and farmers carrying their sheep to safety.
Images captured an overflowing river flooding its banks and damaging roads. A medical center in the town of Mouzaki partially collapsed.
Train services between the capital, Athens, and the northern city of Thessaloniki were suspended.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the government would provide economic relief to the affected areas.
“Saving human lives is our priority,” he said.
The fire brigade said it had received more than 2,450 calls for assistance to rescue trapped people, cut down trees, and pump out water from homes and stores.
On Saturday, the storm reached the greater Athens region, Attica. There were no reports of damage.
Water from a river that burst its banks damaged at least two bridges and several buildings. Parts of the stricken area were without electricity.
The storm was projected to move on to the Greek islands including Crete.
Cyclones were first recorded in Greece in 1995 and have become more frequent in the past few years.
Additional reporting by AP
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