Greek floods: death toll rises, rescuers looking for survivors

The body of a man missing after a storm sparked flash floods on the Greek island of Evia over the weekend has been recovered, Greece’s coastguard has said, bringing the death toll from the storm to eight.

Rescue crews had been searching for the 72-year-old since Sunday when he was reported missing after flooding swept away cars and sent residents of some villages scrambling to their roofs to await rescue.

The coastguard said the man’s body was recovered from the sea off the coast of mainland Greece opposite Evia shortly after midday on Monday.

The dead from the storm and flash floods included an elderly couple discovered in their flooded home Sunday morning, and an eight-month-old baby found in a flooded ground-floor apartment.

Rainfall in parts of Evia reached 80% of the annual total for the area in the space of a few hours overnight from Saturday to Sunday, Greece’s meteorological service said.

A river burst through its banks and flooded part of the village of Politika, forcing many residents to climb to the rooftops of their homes. Another river in the village of Bourtzi also burst its banks.

Authorities estimated that 3,000 residences had been partially or totally damaged by floodwaters, and police said many roads were impassable. Power and water were knocked out in some areas.

The floods swept away cars and storage containers, tossing them into streets and against the walls of buildings. On Monday, local authorities, emergency crews and residents were clearing debris and piles of mud from streets, homes and stores.

Heavy rain started falling at about midnight on Saturday and firefighters responded to more than 50 fires caused by lightning. By late afternoon on Sunday, 97 people had been safely evacuated from their homes and cars, 30 of them by helicopter, and more than 600 homes had been drained of floodwaters, the fire service said.