Authorities in Greece announced on Tuesday that the lockdown in Athens and the Greek islands due to snow will continue for a second day on Wednesday.
Six regions of Greece, including Attica, Viotia, Evia, the Cycladic and Sporades island groups and Crete will be under “obligatory holiday”, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said.
Services under lockdown in Athens and Greek islands
Specifically, all public administration offices will be closed, except primary and secondary level local government offices, the Armed Forces and security personnel, public health facilities and other services needed during emergencies.
All schools in the public and private sector at all levels of education – including preschool and distance learning – will not operate.
Businesses and the retail sector will remain closed, except for the following: food stores, pharmacies and other health facilities, gas stations, and any other businesses that normally operate on national holidays or which contribute to managing the repercussions of the storm.
3,500 people and 1,800 cars were trapped on highways
Stylianides said that police, armed forces, fire brigade, and civil defense personnel, as well as volunteers, had worked through the night to extricate roughly 3,500 people and 1,800 cars trapped on highways.
Throughout the night, he added, teams from the army, police, and fire brigade on foot had distributed blankets, water, and food to assist the people trapped in their cars, as well as providing medical care and providing people with shelter in hospitals.
He reported that the Proastiakos Railway has transported and is still transporting those that spent the night at the airport to Athens and other safe locations around Attiki Odos, where they were taken by fire brigade, police and army personnel so that they might be picked up by train.
“This effort is continuing today so that all the drivers can be extricated as soon as possible,” he said.
Since last night, all the cars abandoned by their owners on Attiki Odos are being moved to the hard shoulder in order to clear the road and allow the snow ploughs to work more efficiently.
Stylianides said that particular attention was paid to medical issues, with the assistance of the ambulance service and Red Cross volunteers.
“Through the superhuman efforts of all the people working in the field, we avoided having any injuries or even something worse. The assistance of EKAB in this was crucial and we thank all the forces that are still operating at this time,” he added.
The minister spoke of a “very difficult night”, in which the state faced “unprecedented conditions” and noted that the “apology of the state is not and should never be insincere”.
“This is not the time to apportion blame. We are now in the field and managing this very difficult situation and we must be undistracted in this work,” the minister said.
“The problems, with the help of all forces, are gradually becoming fewer, the situation is improving by the hour and we hope that by the close of the day we will not have any particular problems with people trapped. Normality will return to the country the soonest possible,” Stylianides concluded.