A long wet winter

My neck of the woods in West Crete has just had one of its wettest winters in memory. This was crowned by a record breaking February.

There was already a lot of damage to roads from previous rains in December and January, the ground was completely soaked and could not absorb any more water with the result that massive damage happened to roads and several bridges collapsed seriously affecting communications.
Small rivers turned into massive streams and carried thousands of trees and immense quantities of reeds into the sea (and ultimately the beaches)

Reeds on Gerani beach
Reeds on Gerani beach

That last big storm left the region reeling but considering how much damage there was most problems (power, water, roads)  got sorted out pretty quickly, at least on a temporary basis.

With news of the storms making it into foreign  media some people abroad started wondering if their planned holiday would be OK. Owners of businesses in some area of damage like Platanias are also showing a lot of concern and, I believe, putting a lot of pressure on authorities to sort things out before the tourist season slowly starts in a few weeks.

And I think that it is working….I have never seen so many bulldozers and heavy machinery in Crete in my life. Everywhere there is cleaning, digging, clearing going on. On the roads, on the beaches…I think that a really effort is happening to get things done so I am very hopeful that tourism will not be affected much by the damage of the winter.

Of course, trying to restore traffic across rivers and collapsed  roads within a few weeks means that initially  we are only patching things up. Rebuilding bridges and roads, preventing landslides (especially on sections of the main road that runs along the North coast) will take a lot longer and cost a lot of money.

I am optimistic that this one exceptional event is also a wake-up call:  the infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate for some years now. Many of the roads that collapsed have been showing signs of subsidence for some time, roadsides have not been maintained properly, all probably due to the financial restrictions that have been imposed on the country in the last few years. Now that disaster has struck I get the sense that the authorities are also keen on providing real solutions that will last for the years to come. Hopefully the money can be found.

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