Death toll from heavy storm in northern Greece rises to 7

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The death toll from the extreme weather phenomena which swept through northern Greece on Wednesday night climbed to seven on Thursday, according to the latest announcement by local authorities. Over 120 people have been injured, with one hospitalized in critical condition.

Government officials pledged immediate financial support for the stricken areas. According to a first estimate by Professor Efthymios Lekkas, president of Greece’s Anti-Seismic Planning and Protection Organization, who spoke on local Open television, material damages reached 100 million euros (112 million U.S. dollars).

“We have retrieved the bodies of six persons. We have also been informed by the Coast Guard about the recovery of one more body, which brings the death toll to seven victims,” Greek Fire Brigade spokesman Vassilis Vathrakoyannis told a press briefing in Athens.

The strong storm which struck popular tourist seaside resorts mainly on Halkidiki peninsula near the city port of Thessaloniki caused the deaths of six tourists, among them two children, and a local fisherman.

A 39-year-old Russian visitor and his two-year-old child were fatally injured when a tree fell outside a hotel, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

A Romanian tourist and an eight-year-old child, also from Romania, were killed during the collapse of a restaurant roof, while an elderly Czech couple died when their trailer was swept away by waters and gale-force winds reaching 10 on the Beaufort scale, according to experts at Greece’s National Observatory.

“The Fire Service received a total of 1,182 calls to address various incidents and a total of 243 firemen with 96 vehicles have been deployed,” Vathrakoyiannis said.

Firemen intervened to assist stranded motorists, pump out water from houses and clear trees and electricity pylons which were toppled by the winds, he said.

Eighty percent of the communities in the region have been affected by electricity cuts, as power lines have been knocked down. According to the latest information from the Public Power Corporation, technicians are working to restore electricity by Saturday.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and ministers and state officials who have been dispatched to supervise the operation of the state mechanism, expressed condolences to the families of victims, wished a speedy recovery to the injured and pledged the state’s full support to heal the wounds.

“All those affected by this natural disaster will receive normal compensations. The Interior Ministry will allocate extra financial aid to the three municipalities that have been hit,” Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos said at another press briefing. (1 euro= 1.12 U.S. dollars)

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