UK & World News

  • 22 February 2013, 16:16

Athens Floods: Woman Saved Amid Traffic Chaos

Hours of relentless rainfall have flooded roads and homes in Athens, causing gridlock across the Greek capital and forcing authorities to close a central metro station.

The Greek fire brigade has been inundated with more than 600 calls to pump out water in the greater Athens region.

No injuries have been reported, but a woman whose car was caught in the flooding in Chalandri suburb, north of the city, had to be pulled to safety.

In some areas, ankle-high water filled the streets and parked vehicles were swept away by racing waters.

Police closed underpasses and motorways in low-lying parts of the city after they were submerged in floodwaters.

"There are cars immobilised on several Athens highways and we have dispatched tow trucks to clear the roads," Dimitris Papanagiotou, a senior traffic police officer, told state television NET.

A parliament employee narrowly avoided injury when a glass roof on the building's ceiling gave way as she tried to clear away rainwater from it.

The damage was quickly repaired, a parliament press officer said.

The city's tram system had to be shut down, while urban rail schedules were disrupted after a tree fell on the tracks.

"We have around 60 fire crews operating, we believe the rain will abate before midday," deputy fire chief Vassilis Papageorgiou told NET.

Meanwhile in Catania on the Italian island of Sicily, torrential rainfall caused flooding and disruption, turning streets into rivers, and dragging along parked cars, motorcycles, chairs and tables.

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