'Everything Is Lost. The Disaster Is Biblical'

Severe storm turned roads into rivers near Athens, killing 14
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2017 12:11 AM CST
A painting on the wall is half covered with mud, showing how high the water rose in a flooded house at the municipality of Mandra, western Athens, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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(Newser) – Greece declared a day of national mourning after floods on the outskirts of Athens left at least 14 dead Wednesday, flipping over cars, smashing into homes, and cutting off highway traffic. The flash floods turned roads into raging torrents of mud and debris inundated houses and businesses. Drivers scrambled out of their vehicles as cars were washed away. Rescue crews searched basement homes for residents who may have been trapped. "This is a very difficult moment for our country. 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," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address, announcing a day of national mourning Thursday.

Twelve of the people killed—four women and eight men—were found in or near Mandra, a small town on the western outskirts of Athens that was hardest-hit by the flood, the AP reports. The coast guard recovered the bodies of two more men believed to have been swept out to sea by the flood. The flooding came after a severe overnight storm brought driving rain to the area. Roads turned into muddy rivers that carried away vehicles, tossing them into piles on roadsides and against fences and buildings, some of which collapsed. "Everything is lost. The disaster is biblical," said the mayor of Mandra, Yianna Krikouki, per the Guardian.

(Read more Greece stories.)

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