Flash flooding hit the outskirts of Greece’s capital on Wednesday after a night of severe rainfall. At least 14 people died, according to media reports, and the water left roadways clogged with mud and debris.
The floods largely affected the towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, on the western outskirts of Athens. Schools in those suburbs were closed after local authorities declared a state of emergency and urged citizens not to travel to the affected areas.
“This is a biblical disaster,” Yianna Krikouki, the mayor of Mandra, told state broadcaster ERT. “Everything is gone.”
Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, posted on Twitter, saying he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths and damage resulting from “the catastrophic storm,” according to a translation by Al Jazeera.
The flooding damaged homes and businesses and destroyed an entire section of the highway that connects Athens and Corinth. The local fire department responded to dozens of reports of people trapped in vehicles and homes, The Associated Press reported.
“What we are seeing is unprecedented,” local official Ioannis Vasilliou told The Guardian.
The region is expected to see more storms in the coming days.