Hailstorm claims six lives, injures more than 100 in Greece

Hailstorm claims six lives, injures more than 100 in Greece

Agency News

Athens, Jul 11 : Golf-sized hail, accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds, marked the onset of a powerful storm, which hit the Halkidiki region in northern Greece, killing at least six people and injuring more than 100.

A state of emergency was declared and more than 100 rescue workers were deployed, after the 'freak storm,' which lasted for about 20 minutes, hit the region on Wednesday night. The deceased included a Czech couple, who died when their caravan was blown away, apart from two Romanians and as many Russians, BBC reported on Thursday. Greek police confirmed that around 140 people were injured in the storm, out of whom, 65 had received treatment from paramedics.

According to government Spokesperson Stelios Petsas, 23 people were admitted in hospital today, with one woman in a critical condition in the intensive care. Charalambos Steriadis, head of civil protection in northern Greece, described it as an "unprecedented phenomenon".

Emily Kishtoo, belonging to Surrey in the UK, was at a beach party with her family, when the storm hit.

"It literally came out of nowhere. The lights cut out on the beach that we were in - it was chaos. People running, screaming and just trying to basically get off the beach," she told the BBC.

Another British tourist, Holly Ellis, said windows were broken and trees downed in her hotel at Portes Beach. She said the staff at the resort she was staying with her children, aged three and five, directed the family to a bar area, which then began to flood. "We've got two young children, there were lots of children crying, obviously very upset, very, very scared," she added.

Electricity access at the resort has been intermittent since, she said, with no running water on Thursday morning.A Romanian woman and her child were killed, when the roof of a restaurant collapsed at Nea Plagia, officials said, while a Russian man and his son were killed by a falling tree near their hotel in the seaside resort of Potidea.

"It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this," said Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre which treated many of the injured."It was so abrupt, so sudden," he said. The popular region, which is close to the tourist city of Thessaloniki, is now in a state of emergency. (UNI)