This year in Greece there were not only gigantic fires, but also a disastrous flood. The entire town of Metamorfosi in the Thessalian Plain was flooded. Residents fear that this was not an exception and are calling on the authorities to move the entire town to a safer area.
– When I entered the house, my heart broke. I said to myself “my life is over. I don’t know how I will live now,” says Vassilis Tsatsarelis, an 80-year-old resident of the village of Metamorfosi. Vassilis Tsatsarelis lost everything. His house is still standing, but you can’t really live there anymore. – I have been in this world for many years. We had floods, but this was not the case. If I live to see next year, I don’t want to go through something like that again, adds Vassilis.
Residents of Metamorfosi in central Greece, including an 80-year-old man, are demanding the relocation of the entire village. They don’t want to build a future in a place that could be struck by a hurricane again at any moment. – All my things are gone, so if they help us leave, I will leave, even though I was born here and grew up here. I do it for my grandchildren, so that they can settle where it is safe, explains Vassilis Tsatsarelis.
Metamorfosi was underwater in the first days of September as a result of Hurricane Daniel, which was raging in the Mediterranean Sea. The disaster affected the entire region of Thessaly. 16 people died. In Metamorphosis itself, a man and his mother drowned in their own home. Residents and authorities of the region fear that such phenomena will become more and more frequent there. – Our village will be under constant threat, maybe even for two or three months a year. You can’t live with the thought that one day you may not wake up because this nightmare will happen again. The solution is to move the village, explains Petros Kontogiannis, the village head of Metamorfosi.
The tragedy of many families
Metamorfosi lies between four rivers and is the lowest point of the plain of Thessaly – the agricultural heart of Greece. There are plans to move the entire town eight kilometers away – to a slightly higher area. – I believe that if the state wants to help, it will work, if there is the will. Of course, we grew up here, we were born here, our parents are buried here, it hurts us, this is our village. It’s a hard decision, but safety is the most important thing, admits Thanasis Tsoukalas, a farmer from the village of Metamorfosi.
Although there is a good chance that the move will take place, the government must consent to it. The Prime Minister of Greece announces that he will commission engineers to provide expert opinions. – We need the opinion of experts who will tell us whether there are actually villages that cannot be protected against extreme phenomena. If this is indeed the case, you need to discuss the move with the residents of these towns. The state will not do anything without the consent of citizens, without talking to people who have been living there for several decades, explains Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece.
Hurricane Daniel was the worst such phenomenon to hit Greece. – This year has shown us that the climate crisis and climate change are no joke. This is also something we are already dealing with and what affects us, says Petros Konogiannis, the village head of Metamorfosi. Since September, Metamorfosi has been virtually deserted. Since then, 240 residents, mostly cotton farmers, have been staying with relatives. Some rented houses in nearby areas.
Facts about the World TVN24 BiS
Main photo source: Reuters