The world climate crisis continues to stay prominent as a major snowstorm now called, Elpida, swept Greece on Monday. Elpida blanketed Athens with heavy snow and resulted in traffic turmoil from the Acropolis hill to the coast in the south.
As army bulldozers plow the snow from the streets, authorities in Greece declare today, January 25, 2022, a public holiday. All public offices and private businesses excluding supermarkets, pharmacies, and petrol stations are closed for the day in the greater Athens area and on some islands. Those who were forced to leave their cars in the storm are now forced to find them under the thick white sheet that lay on top of them.
Yesterday, authorities in Istanbul suspended intercity bus services and blocked travel to the city from Turkey’s northwestern, Thrace region. Greece’s capital also suspended train and bus services. COVID-19 vaccination facilities in the wider Athens region and on the nearby island of Evia were closed, health officials said. Fifteen passengers were injured when a rail transport vehicle tried to pull a train carrying about 200 passengers which had halted in heavy snow in central Greece, two of which were in serious condition, a police official said. Nonetheless, many citizens ignored the potential accidents and government warnings and drove on highways.
The severity of the storm led to rescue personnel, including the army, struggling through the night to evacuate thousands of people trapped in their cars on highways. Soldiers in Greece also handed out food, water, and blankets to those who were stuck in their cars and public transit.
Many of those evacuated were told to leave their cars or public transit and find it once the storm eased up. A lucky few were put up in a hotel for the night. Those who were reached and sent to the Athens Airport were told to wait out the storm. However, those who couldn’t be reached spent a least ten hours in their cars. More than 3,500 people had been evacuated early this morning. Elpida, the storm, was forecast to persist until Wednesday, January 26, 2022.