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

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Shuswap Youth Launch Team members Claire Waite, Abbigail Paetsch, Mikayla Wilkinson, Brynn Gowen and Caillie Hay-Vicars pause for a picture on the day of the Shuswap Youth Launch interactive event, Thursday, Feb. 25. (Contributed)
Shuswap Youth Launch team over the moon with success of interactive event

Salmon Arm youth team invited to apply for $100,000 grant

City council passed resolution in support of an expansion of the licence area at Salmon Arm’s Marionette Winery for the inclusion of a lounge area. (Marionette Winery/Facebook)
City opts out of public hearing for lounge addition at Salmon Arm winery

Marionette Winery expanding licence area to host small gatherings

Fundraising continues to support the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s campaign to install six kilometres of lighting at the popular Shuswap cross-country ski area. (Brad Calkins photo)
Phase 1 of light installation at Shuswap’s Larch Hills to begin this spring

Fundraising efforts continue to illuminate six kilometres of trails at cross-country ski area

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith of Grand Forks, put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland in early February

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

The Vernon Public Art Gallery's new Regional Reach program which sends supplies and lessons to classes, has been a hit in the North Okanagan classrooms. (VPAG photo)
Travelling art kit a hit in North Okanagan schools

Art Gallery’s new Regional Reach program delivers art education to the classrooms

A kaleidescope of colours was captured over Lake Country Sunday, Feb. 28. (Wendey Innes-Shaw photo)
Colourful close to month with North Okanagan sunset

From all angles: Vernon and Lake Country photographers capture sunset Feb. 28

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

An injured skier was helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort to Kelowna General Hospital Monday, March, 2021. (Linda Geggie / Facebook)
Injured skier helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort

The skier was taken to Kelowna General Hospital

Most Read