Six foreigners including two children were killed and more than 100 other people injured when a violent, short-lived storm lashed northern Greece overnight, felling trees and ripping off rooftops. Six of the dead were tourists: two each from Russian Federation, the Czech Republic and Romania.
Nine people remained hospitalized in Papanikolaou hospital in Thessaloniki with injuries caused during the storm, one of which is in the intensive care unit.
Dozens of people were injured after strong winds swept across the northeastern peninsula of Halkidiki, leaving destruction behind that included uprooted trees, collapsed roofs and overturned vehicles.
Two men search in debris after a storm at Nea Plagia village in Halkidiki region, northern Greece on Thursday, July 11, 2019.
After a 63-year-old fisherman was reported missing, the Coast Guard also launched a rescue operation in the sea area off the peninsula to locate him.
Summers in the European country are typically hot and dry.
"We should see how (to make) Greek citizens and foreigners visiting Greece receive the future messages in their mobiles alerting the public of such weather conditions", government spokesman Stelios Petsas told the radio station.
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Athansios Kaltsas, the director of the Nea Moudania Medical Centre, told Greek television that it was "the first time in my 25-year career that I have lived through something like this".
"It was an unprecedented phenomenon", very strong winds, tornadoes and violent hailstorms, Steriadis said, adding that Halkidiki had declared a state of emergency.
"It was so abrupt, so sudden", he said.
The storms came after temperatures in Greece soared to 37 degrees Celcius over the past two days.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was elected on Sunday and just formed his government, appointed Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis to head the response effort, Petsas said, while the army was assisting fix crews.
The close shave left passengers and others on shore terrified, coming as it did barely a month after the collision in the Giudecca canal between the MSC Opera and a smaller boat, which resulted in five people being injured.