February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Since Monday without electricity: “We live like preppers in Athens”

Thousands of residents of the Greek capital have been without electricity for 4 days after snowfalls caused by Cyclone Elpis. Complaints from people living in cold and darkness from Chalandri, Papagu and Iliupoli. Katerina tried to open a tin can, and she succeeded. Her movements, however, were rather constrained because she was wearing four layers of clothing, plus her hands were “frozen” due to the cold. However, she had an idea how to cook food, an “old trick” her parents had taught her – using a spirit lamp.

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This is not a picture from a third world country or even from a remote mountain village in Greece in the old days, this is a story from the Ilioupolis metropolitan area in January 2022. Thousands of families have been without power since Monday due to a blizzard that has caused problems with power lines, in most cases due to falling trees on power lines. Then problems arose due to the lack of snow removal equipment from the municipalities, which is why the teams of the repair service for the operation of electrical networks (GEDNO) cannot drive up and solve the problems. All these days, residents of several districts, mainly in the north-east of Athens, have no electricity to cook, charge mobile phones, turn on, in the end, heating their homes, while the temperature in their homes does not rise above 5 degrees Celsius.

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“We will suffer psychologically from the cold for a long time to come” One of those who have been left without electricity since the beginning of the week is Elias Papageorgiou. Together with his wife, parents and dog, they carry their “Calvary” in a house in the Papagu area. “Then it dawned on us that we live in Athens, and not somewhere in San Dominica. We will suffer psychologically from the cold, ”he told reporters with bitter humor, adding that his father has kidney disease, heart disease, and in general many health problems. Electricity went out when a tree fell on the road where they live, cutting the power lines. Since no repairmen showed up and because the street was covered in snow, Elias, his wife, and a few friends took matters into their own hands. Since they are members of the voluntary forest protection group of the municipality of Kesariani, they had some experience in such cases. Their friends came to Papaga in a jeep and dragged the tree off the road. Almost 100,000 families were left without electricity overnight, according to the Ministry of Civil Protection. The fallen tree was very useful. Elias and his neighbor sawed it for firewood and used it for heating and cooking. “Since the electric stove didn’t work, we cooked in the fireplace,” says Mr. Papageorgiou.

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It is noted that the car that cleared the road of snow and ice finally drove past their house at 10 am on Thursday, and the tree that had fallen on the road had burned down in fireplaces by that time, giving the townspeople an opportunity to survive in a critical situation. Part of the metropolitan area of ​​Chalandri remains without electricity since Monday, with a local complaining about the manipulation of the power grid. According to Ms. Eva, who lives on Stratigou Makrigianni Street, there has been no electricity since Monday in the block opposite her house. HEDNO decided to “cut off” power from yesterday on their side, claiming it was the only solution to repair the damage in the area. “We are outside the city plan* and this is a big problem. HEDNO has not been willing to help us for several days now,” says a resident of Halandri, adding: “We also have a problem with heating because we have run out of firewood and those who sell it have also run out.”

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According to Eva, there are many elderly people living in the area. She has a small child, her elderly parents live in the house opposite. There is also a problem with the supermarket in the area, with a shortage of food and related products. Those who do cross the icy roads to get there also bring food for their neighbors. “This is unacceptable. This is happening in 2022, not 100 years ago,” says Ms. Eva. Iliupoli, electricity appeared around 10:30 am on Thursday However, when on Monday they plunged into darkness, they could not leave their house, since Iliupoli is “famous” for steep ascents and descents, which were icy and did not allow movement. a spirit lamp and was able to cook food. But alas, civilization weaned people from taking care of themselves on their own in a critical situation. We will learn later how they survived. According to HEDNO, by the morning of January 28 (Friday), thousands of families were still without electricity *Outside the urban plan.In Greece, as in other regions, there are entire areas outside the urban development plan.Usually these are either agricultural zones or inconveniences in the foothills, where people have built their own housing.Often such houses have quite legal commune services (water, electricity, sewerage and centralized gas supply), but officially their housing is not included in the registers. Periodically, the authorities legalize such squatting. But in cases of natural disasters or other problems, they are served last. PS There have been a lot of stories like the above mentioned ones in recent days. It’s just that the government’s reaction is depressing. The prime minister and the president, sitting by the fireplace, read the speeches prepared by the speakers for an hour, arguing that these are all climate changes, which means that they are not to blame for what happened. Yes, we’re sorry, but it’s all the climate and all that. We were not ready again, but this is all anomalous weather. Oh yes, also the head of the fire department and the commander of the Air Force retired. Of course, it is very easy to attribute your incompetence to climate change. That’s just the people you, gentlemen, do not believe. PSS Submit your stories about how you survived these days. .

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