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

Salmon Arm Council will be considering on March 10, 2021 approval of the placing of a notice warning of building bylaw infractions on a local property. (File photo)
City of Salmon Arm takes action on reported building bylaw infractions

If final approval given by council, notice will alert prospective buyers to outstanding issues

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

The owner of this property at 2240 Highway 97B SE would like to subdivide the property to create a residence for her son so they can keep the farm going for the next generation. (City of Salmon Arm image)
Salmon Arm farm owner requests subdivision of land for family member

Creating two lots would mean son could help keep the farm productive

The Salmon Arm Fire Department responds to a report of thick smoke coming the backyard of a residence off Fifth Avenuse SE on the morning of March 3. Fire chief Brad Shirley notes that burning yard waste on lots under .99 of an acre is not permitted. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm residents reminded not to be tempted to burn yard waste

Firefighters respond to a call in city March 3 involving wet leaves, yard waste best taken to dump

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Most Read