A firefighter was killed on Monday in the region of Evros in northeastern Greece during an operation to rescue dozens of children that were trapped in a school flooded by torrential rains.
The incident occurred as the fire service was called to a kindergarten and a primary school in the small town of Apalos, near Alexandroupolis.
The fire engine was swept away by the rushing waters and overturned. A 46-year-old firefighter lost his life n the accident.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took to social media to express his sadness over the death of thee firefighter.
“We are saddened by the loss of the firefighter who lost his life trying to help students in danger. Everyone’s thoughts are with his family, which will be supported the State. I express my gratitude and my sincere condolences,” he said on his official Twitter account.
Public broadcaster ERT said the victim was a father of three underage children.
The mayor of Alexandroupolis told Proto Thema that approximately 100 students and teachers had to be evacuated by firefighters and the Army as the area was flooded.
Reports say that the local fire service has requested assistance from neighboring regions as streets have turned into rivers and many houses have been flooded.
Municipal services are on the streets to help those in need.
North of Alexandroupolis, the town of Soufli has also been hit by heavy rain which also caused flooding.
This is the third time recently that the town and surrounding villages have been flooded.
Rains but little snow
Last week, the Meteo weather service of the National Observatory of Athens announced that the current percentage of snow cover in Greece is approximately six percent, lower than the average rate of the period 2004-2020.
The warm aerial masses that have frequently affected Greece this year have brought high quantities of water vapor from the central Mediterranean, resulting in high levels of rain in western and northern Greece.
This is why the extent of snow cover is still very low despite the cold front Leandros and the recent snowfall in Thrace and in the eastern Aegean islands.
According to the satellite images, snow cover is also limited in the northern Balkans, central and southern Italy and the Ukraine. By contrast, in central and northern Europe the amount of snow is normal for the time of year.