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Greece promises relief for flood victims as death toll rises

At least 20 people died in last week's flash floods outside Athens, and rescue teams were searching for two men still missing.

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Greece promises relief for flood victims as death toll rises

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Rescuers in Greece have recovered the body of a twentieth victim of last week’s flash floods in the outskirts of Athens.

The Greek government said on Monday it would offer emergency compensation worth millions of euros to hundreds of households affected by the flooding, the deadliest in four decades.

Specialised disaster response crews were combing the area for two men still missing. They were concentrating on the town of Mandra, the hardest hit area in the west of the capital.

“The situation is dramatic, our main problem is that we don’t have water,” said Mandra resident Thanasis Kondominis.“The water that we have, there’s very little of it and if things continue like this, it’s possible that we’ll soon face health problems.”

Heavy rainfall caused a torrent of mud and water to sweep through the coastal towns of Mandra and Nea Peramos last Wednesday, flooding homes, damaging businesses and destroying roads.

Those who died drowned in their homes or were swept away by the floodwater.

The disaster has prompted recriminations and finger-pointing over a perceived inability of Greek authorities to act on prior warnings that areas with poor infrastructure and unlicensed construction were vulnerable to flooding. Critics also asked why flood prevention projects had been delayed.

Authorities will offer flood victims up to 5,000 euros for households and 8,000 euros for businesses, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

It was not immediately clear how much the state had budgeted for compensation. Tzanakopoulos told Reuters the amount would come from the national budget.