Rescues underway in flood-hit Greek towns as toll rises to 11

PALAMAS KARDITSA-Firefighters backed by the army were rescuing hundreds of people Sunday in villages in central Greece blocked off by floods, as the toll rose to 11 dead.
“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.
The body of a 77-year-old man, found on a beach in Pelion, in the centre of the country, brings the death toll from the flooding to 11, the fire service announced.
Greek civil protection authorities said Saturday evening that another seven people were officially listed as missing, including an Austrian couple visiting the area around the picturesque peak of Pelion in the Thessaly region of northeastern Greece.
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 stuck 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 kilometers 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.

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