Athens: The island of Evia, Greece’s second largest island, has been hit by floods after months of devastating wildfires last summer, destroying nearly a third of its forest.
Heavy rains in the northern part of the island caused no casualties, but dozens of residents had to be evacuated from flooded homes, roads became impassable and beaches filled with mud slicked from nearby mountains that were now devoid of vegetation.
Officials inspecting the damage announced that the government would accelerate a 20 million euro ($23 million) program to aid the devastated areas, as local officials called for action.
Storms have been brewing in northern and central Greece since Thursday, bringing heavy rains. A weather station on Mount Paleo, on the Greek mainland and close to northern Ivia, has recorded 700 mm (27.5 in) of rain since Thursday, with more expected on Sunday night and Monday.
Nearly 300,000 acres of forests, shrubs and fields burned in various parts of Greece during the country’s worst summer in the past 30 years. According to data from Beyond, a research center at the National Observatory of Athens, more than a third of the affected area, or about 115,106 acres, was in northern Evia.
Scientists say there is little doubt that climate change is driving extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and hurricanes, from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.