Assisted by: Sotiris Iliadis (teacher)
THE CATASTROPHIC FLOOD IN HYDRA
A natural disaster is a major adverse event resulting from natural processes of the Earth which can cause loss of life or property damage. In Hydra on 23 October 2015 a catastrophic flood was created by the rain which caused property damage and some injuries.
ABOUT THE FLOOD
On the morning of 23 October 2015 at about 9 o’clock it started raining. It rained heavily for about 4 hours and because of the narrow streets of Hydra and jammed ways for the water to pass, at 12 o’clock the streets of Hydra became torrents to the sea. Because the torrents were very strong no one could pass them. This greatly affected life in Hydra during that time (12:00-2:00 p.m.). For example the students were caged in the school for 2 hours, the residents who were outside were searching for a place to go to survive from the torrents which could carry them away to the sea. Finally the shop owners were trying to collect all the items (chairs, tables) outside of their shops because most of them ended up in the sea.
Many residents of Hydra were helpless while their properties were being destroyed and have been complaining about the damage to their houses, shops and boats.
HOUSES AND SHOPS: Some houses and two restaurants (Manna & Gatto Nero) suffered the most damage.
BOATS: Some boats which were “parked” by their owners high up in the village for repairs were carried away by the torrents and ended up in the port.
DAMAGE AT THE PORT
The damage at the port can be divided into two big categories according to the complaints of the residents and especially the mayor. As this damage is very important for the life in Hydra we can count it as the most important consequence of the flood.
DAMAGE AT THE EAST SIDE OF THE PORT
At the east side of the port, except the damage to the shops, large amounts of soil and dirt were piled up at the corner were the “sea taxis” are moored, blocking the area and destroying the bins and everything which was there.
DAMAGE AT THE MIDDLE OF THE PORT
At the middle of the port a new “beach” has been created by the soil that ended up in the sea. This forced the boats to anchor further away which makes it difficult for the owners to reach their boats and puts their boats in danger.
EFFECTS ON THE WATER OF HYDRA
Hydra doesn’t have its own water. The only way to bring water is to bring it with big boats and store it in big water tanks. The torrents destroyed some parts of the water pipes and some rain water penetrated the water system and the results of that were:
- The residents of Hydra didn’t have water for one day so they couldn’t wash the dishes, have a bath, wash their clothes and so on. Finally when the water came it was brown by the dirt and the soil and consequently useless.
- A very big advantage of Hydra is the clarity of the sea water which makes Hydra’s beaches amazing. The big amount of water that passed through the mountain carrying away soil and dirt ended up in the sea. The clear water of the sea is now a brown and dirty lake.
INJURIES & DEATHS
The torrents carried away some stray animals and entrapped those which were tied in the stables. Because of the force of the torrents some animals were hit by rocks, building materials and so on, and some might have died. Luckiest were the stray animals because they could escape more easily than those which were tied.
HUMANS: Two residents of Hydra were injured but luckily they were taken to hospital and now they have fully recovered.
ANIMALS: Two horses died. Some stray animals might also have died, as the residents of Hydra said. Those deaths affect a lot those who have horses not only because they love their horses but also because they are expensive and they depend on them entirely for their work.
MEASURES THAT THE MUNICIPALITY & THE RESIDENTS OF HYDRA HAVE TAKEN:
The municipality of Hydra collected all the soil from Hydra by using big trucks and bulldozers.
Many residents of Hydra voluntarily helped the people whose houses have been destroyed by the flood. People helped by cleaning up and the municipality by providing the trucks to carry destroyed furniture and soil.
MEASURES THAT THE MUNICIPALITY OF HYDRA & THE RESIDENTS MUST TAKE:
- The municipality of Hydra should bring special equipment to remove the “new beach” and fix the damage which causes many problems to the residents of Hydra.
- The mayor of Hydra should make a speech to encourage people whose houses have been destroyed or their animals have died. Finally he should tell them that he will fix the damage.
- People must help the municipality to fix the problem and not just stay passive and complain.
INTERVIEW WITH THE MAYOR
The mayor of Hydra Mr. George Koukoudakis was kind enough to grant me an interview:
IN YOUR OPINION WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THE FLOOD?
“The extremely heavy rain and the sheer amount of water which came down in such a short time.”
DID ANY PEOPLE COMPLAIN OR ASK FOR HELP?
“The residents of Hydra didn’t complain. We are doing everything we can to help these people to receive financial compensation which they are entitled to.”
WHAT DID THE MUNICIPALITY DO TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE?
“We have called on the services of the Regional Government (Περιφέρεια) because damage from natural disasters is their responsibility and they have sent us some equipment (trucks, bulldozers etc.). To a great extent, the soil and dirt have been removed and the Regional Government is here to help us with other issues”
WILL THE PEOPLE WHO WERE AFFECTED RECEIVE ANY FINANCIAL COMPENSATION?
“Yes. We have taken all the necessary initiatives to secure financial compensation for those who were seriously affected by this unprecedented calamity”
To sum up this flood was an unprecedented event that caused a lot of damage to Hydra. But with the assistance of the municipality and spirit of solidarity that all the residents of Hydra have shown we can repair the damage and make Hydra the beautiful island that we all know.