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Storm Daniel: Greek Farmers Count Devastating Loss

In Greece, people are counting the cost of the devastating floods that hit the centre of the country after Storm Daniel in early September.

Fruit trees, corn and around a fifth of Greece’s cotton crop have been destroyed and over 200,000 animals and poultry killed.

Estimates by academics suggest the short-term effects alone could cost the Greek economy up to 5 billion euros ($5.3bn; £4.3bn).

One of the worst hit areas is the Thessaly plain, in central Greece.

Thessaly is one of the country’s main agricultural regions, and there are fears about the impact on food production.

Sitting on a plastic chair outside her home, Anthoula Pappa stared blankly at the piles of her rotting and broken possessions: water-soaked mattresses and blankets, clothes, a television set, all covered in thick brown mud.

Her house, like many others in the farming village of Vlochos, was almost totally submerged in the floods.

“Nothing was saved, the water was up to the roof,” the 54-year-old said.

“We ran to save ourselves and watched the water rising step by step until it reached the balcony railings and I said, ‘That’s it, the house is destroyed.'”

Her daughter, Maria, said that the conditions are terrible. She told the BBC that they had received some food and water from volunteers, but no help from the authorities. “Nothing from the government. Nothing from the mayor. Nothing. Nothing at all.”

She pointed up to the roof of the house next door. The rotting carcass of a sheep was wedged against the chimney, washed up there by the floods.

“You see that sheep over there?” she said. “It’s still there. Twenty days now. We will get sick.”

“This is the fault of our government.”

Map showing large flooded regions of central Greece
Image caption,
Areas of Thessaly flooded as of 7th September 2023
Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had promised speedy help for the victims of the flooding.

Speaking immediately after the disaster, he said Greece had “the financial capabilities and the mechanism for quick aid,” so that people would be able to “restart their lives, repair their homes… and operate their businesses again.”

But many people here say it’s simply not enough.

In the nearby village of Lefki, Thanassis Thodos showed us what was left of his walnut orchard. He used to have a thousand trees. Half of them are now destroyed.

“The damage is enormous because the trees have been infected by bacteria… You can see this tree, it is green, but the leaves are starting to turn yellow, which means it may be diseased.”

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