Six Tourists Killed By Tornadoes, Hailstorms In Greece

A caravan overturned by strong winds lies on a beach where a storm killed a Czech couple in Nea Plagia, in Chalkidiki, Northern Greece, on July 11, 2019. Sakis MITROLIDIS / AFP


Fierce storms have killed six tourists and injured dozens of people in northern Greece, authorities said on Thursday.

Strong winds and hail on Wednesday evening tore into the beachfront of Halkidiki region, one of Greece’s most popular tourist areas, terrifying thousands of holidaymakers caught in the open.

“For five minutes it was hellish,” said Haris Lazaridis, owner of a tavern where a 54-year-old woman from Romania and her son were killed when the roof caved in.

“There was panic, people were howling and running to hide inside,” Lazaridis told AFP. He added that over 100 people were sheltering under the roof when it collapsed.

Nearly 30 people have been hospitalised in nearby Thessaloniki, including a 13-year-old girl from Serbia.

“It was a miracle that there weren’t more deaths,” said 39-year-old Kyriakos Athanasiadis, who is vacationing in the area.

“Nearly all the coastal restaurants were full, and you could see large objects flying,” he told AFP.

One woman reportedly told hospital staff she was picked up by the wind and thrown in a garbage bin, which then rolled away.

The freak storm only lasted about 20 minutes, but it was enough to overturn cars, uproot trees and balcony railings and cause mudslides.

READ ALSO: Pakistan Train Collision Kills Nine, Injures 66

‘Unprecedented phenomenon’

On a beach in Sozopoli, the storm toppled and ripped open a Czech family’s caravan, killing an elderly couple in their seventies and injuring their 48-year-old son and 19-year-old grandson.

Elsewhere in the region, a Russian man and his son were killed by a falling tree.

“It was an unprecedented phenomenon,” said Charalambos Steriadis, head of civil protection in northern Greece.

Officials have declared a state of emergency and army crews were working around the clock to restore electricity.

“I want to express my sorrow on behalf of all… We mourn for the loss of these souls,” said Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, who is overseeing operations in the area.

“We are in solidarity with their relatives, with the people who have lost their families,” he added.

According to port police, a fisherman in his sixties was also missing.

At least 140 rescue workers were involved in the operation, emergency chief Vassilis Varthakoyannis said.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took over Sunday after general elections, cancelled his meetings to address the disaster, his office said.

The storms came after temperatures in Greece soared to 37 degrees centigrade (98 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past two days.

The Greek national observatory said it had recorded over 5,000 lightning bolts around the country on Wednesday evening.


Three Dead, Nine Injured After Heavy Rain In Kano

kano flood, hailstorm, heavy rainAt least three people were killed and nine others injured after a heavy rain, accompanied by a hailstorm, in Kwanar Dangora in Bebeji Local Government Area of Kano State.

Governor Ganduje confirmed the incident to reporters on Monday.

“It is sympathetic to inform you that a school, market and farmlands were also destroyed by the rain. I want to assure you that Government will carry out emergency repairs of both the school and the market,” he said.

Governor Ganduje said that he would carefully study the local authorities’ report on the incident, from which Government would see the possibility of assisting the farmers whose farmlands and crops were swept away by the flood.

“I really sympathise with you but more importantly, do not give up on crops and do not stay away from your market, make sure you send your children to school while we try to rebuild what was lost here,” the Governor said.

He also said that he had directed free medical treatment to those who got injured in the incident.

Meanwhile the village head of Gwarmai community told the Governor that many other people who sustained fractures were traditionally treated at the community level.

He said that apart from the nine people currently receiving treatment at the hospital, “we have many others with various degrees of bone fractures receiving local treatment in their houses”.

Governor Ganduje then directed the Bebeji Local Government chairman to bring forward the total number of people affected for immediate intervention.

Hails are chunks of ice falling from the sky during a rainstorm or thunderstorm.

Rainfall of ice in Abeokuta

Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, south-west of Nigeria, on Thursday recorded an unusual rainfall laden with ice falling, also known as hailstorm.

Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone.

Residents witnessed ice blocks, the size of gravels falling from the sky leaving the very apprehensive when solid blocks started falling on rooftops, road and vehicles, making very loud unusual sound.

According to reports, the ice storm started during the heavy rainfall which started around 5.42pm, lasting about 27 minutes with strong winds.

Wind shields of three vehicles were reportedly broken by the ice at Ake, the heart of the ancient town.

Similar ice storm were experienced other parts of the city such as Panseke, Kuto and at the MKO Abiola Stadium.

A witness who wrote his experience on a social media platform stated that “I’m presently driving somewhere around Kuto, in Abeokuta and there’s massive hail storm here. It’s so strong; it’s got people leaving their cars for shelter. To give you an idea, it’s like having gravel poured on the roof of your vehicle from a four storey building.”

Another witness, Mr. Denola Badejo of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, said he was afraid when the rain caught him driving. “I thought it would break my glass.”