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Storms sweep Rhodes island

- by Andy Cornish

Two dead after severe downpour.

At least three people have died in storms that swept across the island of Rhodes. Three women have died on the Greek tourist island and two men are missing after heavy rainfall hit resorts across the holiday island.

A 27-year-old woman's body was found in the sea on Saturday near the resort town of Kremasti, one of the areas hardest hit by a severe three-hour downpour.

Emergency rescue crews also recovered the body of a 40-year-old woman from a river bank after a helicopter with a 10-man specialized rescue team and dogs has been sent to the island of Rhodes to assist the search and later the body of a 63 year old was found.

A state of emergency has been declared on parts of the island of Rhodes and many villages are without electricity after lightning struck power plants.

Rescue workers say many basements of houses and stores across the island have been flooded and fire services received more than 130 calls for help with at least 20 people trapped in their homes or cars.

Dozens of homes in the Rhodes holiday hotel areas of Ixia and Ialyssos had water supplies cut and no indication of when supplies will be resumed.

The state of emergency was invoked after storms lashed the island with heavy rainfall thundering down for more than three hours.

Rescue workers and soldiers have been conducting a search alongside the river Kremastis which was badly swollen by the storms.

It is the second time this month that the island of Rhodes has been hit by severe weather. In the latest event, roads from Faliraki up the Chain, were transformed into rivers while the city of Rhodes was thrown into traffic chaos.

The road from Tsairi to the airport has been declared unsafe after an entire section was damaged by storm water.

Severe hailstorms also swept Ixia and Ialyssos and authorities recommend extreme caution despite the bad weather having now eased.

People on Rhodes have been warned not use their vehicles unless it is strictly necessary as floods have left many roads in a dangerous condition with abandoned cars across the highways.