A quarter of Greece’s annual agricultural production was wiped out in last week’s deadly flash floods, triggered by Storm Daniel, which drenched the central region of Thessaly, according to experts.
The floods killed 15 people…
As government officials began the daunting task of mapping the damage dealt to the plain that feeds much of Greece, one pressing need was to dispose of tens of thousands of decomposing farm animals.
Out of over 110,000 dead sheep, goats, pigs, cows and chickens reported lost by farmers, fewer than half have been buried or incinerated, officials said.
Inspection crews were still unable to reach half the areas with reported dead livestock, the agriculture ministry said.
“The damage is difficult to fully assess at the moment, but according to the most optimistic scenario, 70 percent of the cotton crop and almost all of the clover has been damaged,” said Athanasios Karaiskos, president of the farm cooperative of the town of Farsala.
The region’s apple and kiwi productions have also been hit, while warehouses storing large quantities of wheat were flooded.
Some parts of Thessaly received “an astonishing 910 millimetres of rain” more than a year’s rainfall in normal conditions, said Katerina Kasimati, at the Agricultural University of Athens.
“These floods caused nearly 25 percent of the year’s crop production to be lost, amounting to losses in the hundreds of millions of euros,” she told AFP.
“Farmers and particularly livestock breeders are in a state of panic,” said Christos Yannadakis, vice-president of the union of Greek farm cooperatives.
In Strasbourg this week to discuss the issue with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece faced a “catastrophe of immense proportions.”
The EU said Greece could access 2.25 billion euros in pending and additional funds for reconstruction.