The Greek army has been deployed at six locations in Attiki Odos to help cars stuck on the highway after stalled cars and truck accidents created massive traffic jams, said government sources on Monday evening.
The drivers have been stranded since midday, during the ‘Elpis’ snowstorm that is expected to continue to Tuesday, unable to move to exits.
Six areas of Greece including Attica and Crete are placed on obligatory holiday on Tuesday, following severe problems created by the ‘Elpis’ thundersnow that created havoc in transportation on Monday, Climate Change and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said during an emergency evening briefing.
Regions worst affected and shutting down most of their operations include Attica, Boeotia (Viotia), Evia, the Cycladic and Sporades Island groups and Crete.
Specifically, all public administration offices will be shut down. Exceptions include primary and secondary level local government offices, the Armed Forces and security personnel, public health facilities and other services needed during emergencies.
Mass transportation will operate wherever possible. In particular, trains and trams will operate normally, while buses and trolleys whenever possible.
All schools in the public and private sector at all levels of education – including preschool and distance learning – will not operate on Tuesday. This includes recreation centers for special needs people.
Businesses and the retail sector will be shut down also 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, Stylianides said.
The minister also said efforts continued to help cars that were stranded on Attiki Odos during the ‘Elpis’ thunderstorm, which is expected to continue to midday Tuesday.
The Fire Brigade, the Hellenic Police, the Armed Forces and volunteers from the Hellenic Red Cross, the Smile of the Child (Hamogelo tou Pediou), and the emergency ambulance service EKAV were assisting in the efforts, which were focusing on Kifissias and Pentelis Avenues, Stylianides said.
Drivers are abandoning their cars and being driven to six points – Pentelis, Doukissis Plakentias, Kifissias Ring, Marathonos Avenue, Kantza and Peania – where they are led to buses that will deliver them to safe points. There they will be provided first aid for those who need it, as there are standby ambulances, the minister said. Those who have no place to stay will be put up in hotels by the Citizen Protection Ministry, and will be further assisted there.
Stylianides also said that East Attica is continuing to face power outages, especially in Marathonas’ area, and roads are being cleared for the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) to access areas for repairs.
He also asked the public to restrict movements, and apologized on behalf of the state “for any failures, especially with the responsibility of a specific company,” referring to the managers of Attiki Odos.