Greece declared a three-day national mourning following the train disaster at Tempe in central Greece, where dozens of people lost their lives late on Tuesday.
It comes into effect from today, March 1st to March 3rd, 2023 with flags flying at half-mast in all public buildings and suspension of public events.
Political parties are also suspending their campaigns for the general election expected to be held in April.
A passenger train and a cargo train were involved in the fatal head-on crash at Tempe near the city of Larissa in Central Greece resulting in the loss of at least 36 lives and more than 60 people injured.
It is the worst rail disaster in the country’s history.
Train disaster in Greece an “unspeakable tragedy”
Greek Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the scene of the tragedy. In a brief statement, he said: “I can only guarantee one thing, we will find out the causes of this tragedy and we will do everything in our power to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
Greek government spokesperson Yannis Oikonomou called it an ‘unspeakable tragedy’.
“Right now the priority is the treatment of the injured, the identification and search of the missing in the wreckage and the psychological support of the relatives of the victims with psychologists who are going to Larissa,” he said.
“Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, the missing and the injured.”.
He added that an investigation into the causes of the accident had already been initiated by the relevant authorities in order to clarify the circumstances under which two trains moving in opposite directions happened to be on the same line for many kilometers.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was among the first foreign leaders to express his condolences to Greece.
In a phone call today, #Türkiye FM @MevlutCavusoglu expressed to FM @NikosDendias his condolences over the tragic railway accident in #Tempi. FM Dendias thanked his counterpart for his solidarity at this difficult moment pic.twitter.com/yjPGcbuHZr
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) March 1, 2023
“My thoughts are with the people of Greece after the terrible train accident that claimed so many lives last night near Larissa,” the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.
“The whole of Europe is mourning with you.”
My thoughts are with the people of Greece after the terrible train accident that claimed so many lives last night near Larissa.
The whole of Europe is mourning with you. I also wish for a speedy recovery for all the injured.
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— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 1, 2023
This is a breaking news story; more to follow.