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State of emergency in Crete after heavy rain, flooding

Heavy rainfall hit eastern Crete earlier, flooding the towns of Ierapetra and Sitia and prompting a state of emergency to be declared, state broadcaster ERT reported on Monday.

Disaster relief services were on Monday pumping water out of buildings, among the hotels and apartment houses on the eastern Mediterranean island that heavily depends upon summer tourists.

Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands.

It is also the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica.

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The weather has been harsh in Greece and in particular Crete, with an unusually high number of storms and heavy rainfall.

With mountains lining the coast throughout the country and its many islands, heavy rain can quickly turn deadly, as it is channeled through steep gullies and rushes toward the sea.

In February, five people were swept to their deaths in Crete by the water.

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