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World News February 26, 2024

Flooded Greek lake an alarm to European farmers battling extreme weather

The Thessaly plain in central Greece, a vital agricultural region, is grappling with the aftermath of unprecedented flooding that wiped out tens of thousands of acres of cotton fields, almond trees, and grazing lands. Farmer Babis Evangelinos, among those affected, navigates his submerged land in a small boat, witnessing the destruction caused by last year’s floods. The flooding, exacerbated by storms Daniel and Elias, impacted 35,000 acres near Lake Karla, which constitutes 25% of Greece’s agricultural produce and 5% of its GDP.

The situation has stirred anger among farmers facing threats to their livelihoods from rising costs and climate change. Farmers across Europe, from India to France and Poland, have protested against competition, insufficient government support, and low prices. In Greece, the government has responded with measures like discounted power bills and tax rebates for diesel. However, the financial strain on the government, coupled with the ongoing climate challenges, raises uncertainty about additional aid.

Lake Karla, drained in the 1960s to expand farmland, experienced a massive influx of water during the floods, and it could take up to two years for the water to subside. Farmers, like Evangelinos, are uncertain about their future, with crop losses impacting their income and ability to meet financial obligations, such as university expenses for their children. The recovery process involves compensation payouts, proposals for water removal using floating machines, and the anticipation of further government assistance. Despite the challenges, farmers like Evangelinos express a resilient determination to rehabilitate their land and resume cultivation once conditions permit.

Source – CGTN

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