Thousands of travelers were left stranded on a highway near Athens as a severe snowstorm covered the latter.
The storm called Elpida covered the Greek capital, Athens, with heavy snow, which is extremely rare for the city. Athens usually sees only a little snowfall. However, this year the city has been hit hard.
Popular Greek summer destinations, such as Santorini and Mykonos, which generally have a mild climate during the winter season, have also seen snow.
Some 3,500 people who were trapped in the country’s main streets due to heavy snowfall were rescued on the night of Monday 24 January. However, some had to spend the night on the highway.
Although rescue teams worked all night to help people stranded in their cars, they were unable to reach everyone. Thus, about 300 drivers had to spend the night on the Attiki Odos highway.
To make conditions more bearable, rescue teams have distributed necessities, such as food, blankets and water, TheSchengen.com reports.
Apart from drivers who got stuck in the streets due to bad weather, the country has also been hit by blackouts.
Commenting on the situation, Greece’s Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Christos Stylianides, blamed the road management company for the chaos. He said that the company is unable to maintain traffic conditions despite its pledge to take all appropriate measures.
To help the country get through this situation, the authorities in Athens declared Tuesday a public holiday, which means that all public and private businesses have been ordered to close. Only pharmacies, essential markets and gas stations were allowed to operate as usual.
The citizens of Athens have also been advised to stay off the streets as they may encounter difficulties or even stumble.
Aside from preventing thousands of people from walking on the highway and causing chaos across the city, the snow has also caused difficulties in rail transportation.
Fifteen people were injured after a rail transport vehicle tried to help and rescue a train carrying about 200 passengers. The passenger train could not operate due to heavy snow.
In addition, five flights were canceled on Monday, with authorities noting that they also expect to cancel flights for the coming days as well.
With the exception of Greece, Turkey has also been exposed to low temperatures and heavy snow. Due to heavy snowfall, the country was buried under a heavy blanket of snow, which led to the cancellation of flights as well.