Herders in central Greece have lost more than 50,000 animals in floods, while surviving herds face an urgent shortage of animal feed, farmers in Thessaly said.
According to initial estimates, almost 100,000 young animals drowned in the floods in Thessaly and parts of central Greece, the heart of Greece’s agricultural and livestock economy.
Yiannis Kokouras, mayor of Tyrnavos, near Larissa, told radio Praktoreio FM 104.9 of the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) that herders in the region managed to save 25,000 sheep wandering in areas without enclosures and are facing serious problems. in food. “We managed to stop the (flood) waters five meters in front of the first houses in Ambelonas and Vryotopos,” he said, but the town known for its cheese, wine and tsipuro remains isolated from the roads leading to the main supply town of Larissa, to the north-northwest, are still inaccessible. The only road away from Tyrnavos is north, leading to Elassona and Kozani and a long circuitous path to Larissa.
“Large livestock units have been destroyed and unfortunately this is the time in the production process – sheep are now starting to give birth,” Kokouras said. “Therefore, they immediately need animal food and spaces to be transferred to. They now take place within the parks and spaces of Ambelons. They don’t know where to take them. Some livestock associations from other areas have responded and sent us feed, and we are also trying to purchase some. But 25,000 sheep is a lot – we have as many sheep as people in our commune,” he said, stressing that “animals that survived the floods risk death from starvation.”
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Additionally, vineyard owners cannot access their land, much of which is underwater, and it is now harvest season, while the wastewater treatment plant has broken down because the water reaches two meters in height.
In the equally important production center of Elassona, the storm and floods did not destroy everything, the secretary general of the National Breeders’ Association, Nikos Palaskas, told ANA-MPA radio “Praktoreio” . Compared to the rest of Thessaly, “which suffered total destruction, we barely survived,” he said. “We are now threatened by infections caused by dead animals. Unfortunately, the collection process takes a long time. It is very difficult to approach farms that are still underwater, and wherever the animals have survived, they throw animal feed from the air,” the agricultural official said.
The bodies of the dead animals reached the sea in Platamonas, on the Macedonian coast, he added, “and it is not clear what people will face when the waters recede. Unfortunately, there is no return” after the destruction, he said. He added that government measures for those affected by extreme weather conditions are not enough.
“To buy 1,000 animals, you need 250,000 euros. To build a breeding unit, you need at least 1 million euros. The aid of 5,000 to 6,000 euros is not even enough for a week’s supply of animal food. Whoever has animals that survived will have to face the winter, and those who lost them will have difficulty replacing them,” Palaskas added.