An Israeli reserve solider takes photos of his family in the snow near the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Snowstorms hit Eastern Mediterranean, army called out in Greece

Snow reaches Libya as dump in the region being called the worst in 40 years

Greece called in the armed forces Wednesday to help repair widespread damage caused by heavy snowfall in Athens, while blizzards continued to cause havoc in neighbouring Turkey and with the snow reaching as far as Libya.

The Athens snowstorm, described by authorities as the most severe in 40 years, blanketed the city and its ancient monuments Tuesday and left parts of the capital without power and water.

Armed forces service members, including marines, used cranes and chain saws to help fire crews clear hundreds of downed trees that damaged the electricity network and blocked roads.

More than 800 fallen trees in greater Athens struck power lines, and hundreds more were reported in nearby areas including the island of Evia off the coast of the southeast mainland.

“The main challenge now is to restore the power supply to homes. This storm caused problems around the country,” Civil Protection chief Nikos Hardalias said.

“In Evia alone, 500 damaged electricity posts and pylons were replaced. The army and crews from civilian agencies worked through the night and are continuing to work now.”

Later authorities said power had been restored to about 45,000 households on the outskirts of Athens since Wednesday morning, leaving about 25,000 without, and efforts were being redoubled to reconnect them.

Weather conditions improved in Greece Wednesday but continued to cause extensive problems to the east, in Turkey, where blizzards continued to sweep across northern parts of the country as the cold front made its way across the eastern Mediterranean. Snow reached an area in northeastern Libya for the first time in 15 years, and a snowstorm caused road closures in northern Syria.

In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, icy roads caused multiple car accidents and authorities said up to 50 centimetres (some 20 inches) of snow has accumulated in the metropolis’ higher-altitude districts.

Elsewhere in Turkey, 22 people were injured after a passenger bus slid off a highway in the central province of Aksaray and overturned, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Heavy snowfall also closed highways and access to dozens of villages in eastern Turkey and closed schools recently reopened due to pandemic restrictions.

— Derek Gatopoulos And Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press

RELATED: Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

RELATED: Logging practices increase risk of climate change disasters in B.C.: report

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Alain Bedard’s Two Shores on acrylic is in the West End Gallery in March. (Alain Bedard Image)
At The Galleries: March exhibitions come to life

A look at what’s on display this month at Greater Victoria art galleries

(Derek Ford / District of Saanich)
Greater Victoria residents are among the most credit-worthy Canadians, but overall debt level continues to rise. (Derek Ford / District of Saanich)
Saanich gets an ‘A’ on first climate change progress report card

The document highlights sustainability improvements made in 2020 despite the pandemic

West Shore RCMP say police presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to the shooting death of a 37-year-old man in Metchosin Friday night. (Black Press Media File)
West Shore RCMP says presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to death in Metchosin

Police continue to investigate what they describe as ‘targeted incident’ in death of a 37-year-old man

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read