Six tourists killed in storms in Greece

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The freak storm, which only lasted about 20 minutes, hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region and overturned cars. (InTime News via AP)
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Debris litter a beach at Vergia village after a powerful storm hit in Halkidiki of northern Greece. (InTime News via AP)
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A man rides a bicycle among debris after a storm at Nea Plagia village in the Halkidiki, northern Greece. (InTime News via AP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Six tourists killed in storms in Greece

  • Strong winds and hail hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region, near the city of Thessaloniki
  • Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides

THESSALONIKI, Greece: Fierce storms have killed six tourists and injured dozens of people in northern Greece, authorities said on Thursday.
Strong winds and hail hit the popular tourist Halkidiki region, near the city of Thessaloniki, late on Wednesday.
Television footage showed overturned cars, fallen trees, torn roofs and mudslides.
The freak storm only lasted about 20 minutes, according to witnesses interviewed by state television ERT.
“It was an unprecedented phenomenon,” said Charalambos Steriadis, head of civil protection in northern Greece.
“Six tourists were killed and at least 30 people were injured during this cyclone,” Steriadis said.
Officials have declared a state of emergency.
The storm overturned and ripped open a caravan occupied by a Czech family on a local beach, killing an elderly couple and injuring their son and grandson.
Elsewhere in the region, a Russian man and his son were killed by a falling tree.
A woman from Romania and her child died when the roof of a tavern caved in, police said, while dozens of people were dining.
“I want to express my sorrow on behalf of all... We mourn for the loss of these souls,” said Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, who is overseeing operations in the area.
“We are in solidarity with their relatives, with the people who have lost their families,” he added.
According to port police, a fisherman in his sixties was also missing.
The freak weather also knocked out power in the area, with army crews working to restore services.
At least 140 rescue workers were involved in the operation, emergency chief Vassilis Varthakoyannis said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took over Sunday after general elections, cancelled his meetings to address the disaster, his office said.
The storms came after temperatures in Greece soared to 37°C over the past two days.

Afghan father’s perilous motorbike school run to realize daughter’s medical dream

Updated 34 min 51 sec ago

Afghan father’s perilous motorbike school run to realize daughter’s medical dream

  • Devoted dad overcomes strict traditions on female roles in hope of seeing girl become town’s first female doctor

PAKISTAN: Devoted Afghan dad Mia Khan has been hailed for going the extra mile to help his daughter achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.

Every day, the daily wage laborer, from Sharan city in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, travels 12 km on his motorcycle to take Rozai to school.

And when classes end, he is there for the long and hazardous journey home through tough borderland terrain.

“You know, we don’t have any female doctors in our town. It is my ultimate wish to see my daughter as its first female doctor. I want her to serve humanity,” Khan told Arab News.

Paktika shares a 300 km border with Pakistan’s newly merged tribal districts of North and South Waziristan and parts of Balochistan province, where powerful patriarchal norms still dictate most women’s lives.

But Rozai and her father are determined to buck the trend through her tuition at Nooranya School, a community educational institution built by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.

Rozai told Arab News: “We have to travel a long distance and I would like for a school to be established closer to our home. We are often tired (from our journey) when we arrive at school and sometimes, we are late.”

Saif-ur-Rehman Shahab, a representative of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, told Arab News that Khan, who has for years taken his children to school on a motorcycle, deserved all the plaudits he could get. Khan has two sons and seven daughters.

“Khan gets his children, specifically his daughter Rozai, educated in a very challenging situation. We have deteriorating security and poor awareness about girls’ education here. Khan is facing acute financial challenges working as a daily wage laborer. I deeply appreciate him for facing all these challenges boldly to educate his daughter,” Shahab said.

Hikmat Safi, an adviser to Afghanistan’s chief executive, said Khan’s passion was an inspiration to others. “Amid brewing insecurity coupled with cultural limitations, this is a really positive change when people like Khan come out to educate their children, primarily daughters.”

Nooranya School has 220 female students and is one of hundreds of community-based classes and schools, predominantly attended by girls, set up by the committee in various parts of Paktika province.