Authorities on the Greek Island of Crete say ongoing torrential rains have led to severe flooding that has turned roads into rivers, uprooted trees, damaged hundreds of homes and businesses and swept cars out to sea.
Emergency response officials say the worst damage occurred east of the island's capital, Iraklion, in small towns and villages, where schools were closed, and residents were advised to stay indoors. In some areas, home dwellers sought refuge on roofs to escape the rising water as entire neighborhoods were immersed.
There have also been reports of bursting pipes, and landslides in areas with steep terrain.
Fire officials tell the Reuters news service they received more than 300 calls from residents, mainly to pump out floodwater from homes and shops, and assisted 18 people trapped in cars or buildings to move to safety in the capital and Rethymno area. Firefighters, along with Crete's Special Disaster Response unit, were taking part in rescue operations on the island.
No serious injuries were reported, but regional government officials said the island's road network had been damaged. Crete has also been impacted by a coronavirus lockdown, in effect since Saturday, that has forced businesses to close their doors.
It was the third time in less than a month that the area had been hit by flooding and forecasters said heavy rainfall was expected to continue through Thursday.?