Rescue operation underway in Greek towns cut off by floods

PALAMAS KARDITSA-Firefighters backed by the army were rescuing hundreds of people Saturday in villages in central Greece blocked off by floods that have claimed at least 10 lives. “More than 2,850 people have been rescued since the beginning of the bad weather,” fire department spokesman Yannis Artopios told broadcaster Mega on Saturday.
“There are still many people in the villages around Karditsa, Palamas and toward Trikala. They are not missing, they are trapped,” he said, adding that six people were officially missing. Several houses remain under water in the village of Palamas and rescue workers were trying to reach marooned people, an AFP journalist said. “It was truly hellish,” said 54-year-old Palamas resident Eleni Patouli. “We were stick without help or information for hours. The (emergency services) 112 message to evacuate arrived just as we were facing up to the flooding and we had no means of escape,” she told AFP. The situation also remains worrying near the city of Larissa, a few kilometres to the east. “We are having great difficulties with the Pinios river, next to the city of Larissa, which has overflowed and reached a height of 2.5 metres (eight feet) on the outskirts of Larissa,” Artopios said. The flooding has laid waste to thousands of hectares of rich agricultural land and farmers have also lost substantial livestock numbers.

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