Athens / Nea Plagia: Six foreigners including two children were killed and more than 100 other people were injured when a violent, short-lived storm hit Northern Greece & night, fell trees and cut off roofs.
Witnesses reported that the storm had come and gone within minutes. Winds of more than 100 km / h were reported on the Halkidiki peninsula, popular with tourists in the summer. Two older Czech tourists were killed when strong winds and water brought down their travel trailer, police said.
A woman and an eight-year-old boy from Romania were killed when a roof collapsed in a restaurant in the seaside town of Nea Plagia. And a man and a boy, both Russians, died when a tree fell near their hotel in the seaside town of Potidea, the authorities said.
Streets in the area were littered with uprooted pine trees and inverted motorcycles, and wooden roofs were torn off and dumped on beaches. A Reuters correspondent saw sun beds stacked in mutilated heaps with other debris over the golden beaches of Nea Plagia.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose government was sworn in this week after winning elections on July 7, canceled his morning roster and was constantly briefed, an official said.
Mihalis Chrisochoidis, Minister of Civil Protection, said on the spot that Greece mourned the loss of human life, and added, "In the coming days, all damage will be repaired."
Such severe storms are unusual in Greece, where the summers are usually hot and dry. But the tragedy had echoes of a wild fire almost a year ago that rushed through the Mati resort, almost without warning, fueled by hot winds, imprisoning many residents before they could flee and kill 100 people.
"It is the first time in my 25-year career that I have experienced anything like this," told Greek television Athansios Kaltsas, director of the Nea Moudania Medical Center, where many of the wounded were treated for fractures. "It was so abrupt and sudden."
Kaltsas said patients to the clinic ranged from 8 months to over 70. Some had head injuries from trees and other falling objects.
Authorities said about 100 people, mostly tourists, had been injured and 23 of them had been admitted to the hospital. There were many power outages.
"Here we are dealing with a new situation," Efthymios Lekkas expert on geology and natural disasters told Skai TV. "Climate change is an accelerated and self-sustaining cycle that brings new dangers, with a longer duration and intensity."
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