Day of Mourning After Rain Kills 14 in Floods Near Athens

Greece has declared a national day of mourning after flash flooding near Athens left 14 people dead on Wednesday (local time).

The floods on the outskirts of the city turned roads into torrents of mud and debris while flipping over cars and cutting off highway traffic, while drivers scrambled out of their vehicles as cars were washed away.

Rescue crews have searched basement homes for residents who may have been trapped.

The torrential rain is expected to continue into Thursday.

“This is a very difficult moment for our country,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address, announcing a day of national mourning on Thursday.

“We mourn the deaths of 14 people in what is a great disaster.”

“It is the wish of all of us that this number does not increase.”

12 of the people killed included eight men and four women were found in or near Mandra, the hardest hit by the flood. The coast guard has recovered bodies of two or more men believed to have been swept out to sea by the flood.

The deaths came a day after authorities declared a state of emergency on the small Aegean Sea island of Symi following torrential rain that flood homes and shops as well as cutting power after the power station was flooded.

There are fears the death toll could rise as rescue crews searched flooded homes and streets on the western outskirts of Athens.

Authorities have shut schools in Mndra, Nea Peramos and Megara and the fire department has advised the public to avoid the area to reduce traffic unless absolutely necessary.

More hazardous weather in coming days is expected for large areas of Greece, with storms predicted for western Greece and parts of Athens.

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