Greece was struck by intense gale force winds last night at the coast of Halkidiki, killing at least six people. Winds swept over a caravan, killing two elderly Czech nationals, and a Romanian woman and boy died after a roof collapsed at a restaurant in Nea Plagia. Gales also pushed a tree into a hotel in the town of Potidea, killing a Russian man and boy. More than 100 people are thought to have been injured by the weather, with patients treated in hospital aged 8 months to 70 years old.
One Greek medical centre reported it had treated 60 to 70 people in the wake of the storm, mostly for fractures.
Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre, told Greek television this was the first time he had seen weather of this magnitude.
He said: ”It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this,”
“It was so abrupt, and so sudden.”
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Eyewitnesses interviewed by Greek state broadcaster ERT said the storm lasted 20 minutes, and Greek officials rapidly responded.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took over the government on Sunday, cancelled all meetings to address the disaster.
Some homes and businesses were left without power as the storm blew over electricity pylons.
Michalis Chrisochoidis, citizen protection minister overseeing operations in the area, expressed his sadness after the event.
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He said: “I want to express my sorrow on behalf of all. We mourn for the loss of these souls.
“We are in solidarity with their relatives, with the people who have lost their families.”
Greek weather is a story of extremes at the moment, as the country is also in the grips of a brutal heatwave.
Temperatures peaked at 37C over the last three days, and fire services are still on alert.
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Extreme weather stretched into the Greek administrative region of Central Macedonia, where forest fires have ignited in high heat.
According to the Hellenic Fire Service, firefighters are alert and coping with fire incidents in the area.
The service recovered five bodies as forest fires descended on Macedonia, with two people found in Sozopol, one in New Beach and another two in Potida.
They also made 30 rescues from homes and vehicles, with 20 people transported to hospital.