Fierce storm kills seven in Greek tourist peninsula

Fierce storm kills seven in Greek tourist peninsula

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Seven people died and at least 23 were injured as a fierce storm ripped through beachfronts in one of Greece’s top tourist areas, terrifying thousands of holidaymakers caught in the open, authorities said Thursday.
Six tourists including two children were killed — two each from the Czech Republic, Russia and Romania — in the northern peninsula of Halkidiki, near Greece’s second city Thessaloniki, in the storm late Wednesday.
Relatives have since identified the body of a local fisherman in his sixties who had been missing since the storm and was later found in the sea.
“There was panic, people were howling and running to hide inside,” said Haris Lazaridis, owner of a tavern where a 54-year-old woman from Romania and her son were killed when the roof blew off.
“For five minutes it was hellish,” Lazaridis told AFP. He added that more than 100 people had been sheltering under the roof.
In an emergency briefing, government spokesman Stelios Petsas on Thursday said the area had been hit by winds of more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour.
Twenty-three people were still being treated in nearby hospitals, including a 72-year-old woman in critical condition, he said.
Most of them are tourists, Petsas said, declining to give nationalities.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office on Sunday following a general elections, cancelled his meetings to address the disaster, his office said.
“We are making every effort to resolve problems and repair the damage,” Mitsotakis said in a tweet.
The Halkikidi peninsula is particularly popular among Balkan and Russian travellers.
Overall, some 120 people received attention at local hospitals.
The freak storm lasted only about 20 minutes, according to witnesses, but it was enough to overturn cars, uproot trees and balcony railings and cause mudslides.

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