Protection and Safety of Citizens is a State Obligation, Minister Says


(Photo by EUROKINISSI/Christos Bonis)

ATHENS - The protection and safety of Greek citizens is an obligation of this government, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said on Monday, at a press conference during a weekend that saw several fires break out.

“There is a state and there is experience staff that knows how to fight fires,” Chrisochoidis said, thanking all security personnel and particularly Fire Brigade staff “who have not slept this month, staffing offices or in the field.”

He also referred to the gradually increased use of the emergency number 112 to send citizens text messages (SMSs) warning them of high fire probability (due to the temperature and winds) which also asked them to “avoid actions that might start fires in rural areas.”

The minister said that the number of fires breaking out had increased compared to last year. As of July 15 to Monday, he said, 1,302 fires broke out compared to 735 for the same period in 2018. From Friday to Sunday past, he said, a total of 102 fires broke out, especially the tough ones to extinguish of Mt. Hymettus, Elafonissos and Marathonas.

“Fire fighters, emergency ambulance services (EKAV), police, cities, and regions responded in an organized, coordinated way with personal sacrifice,” Chrisochoidis said, “and we congratulate them and thank them for protecting us and carrying out their duties.”

He said he gave the extraordinary press conference to thank everyone for their efforts and to caution people to take care of themselves and their surroundings. “The state is here and your protection and safety is our duty. We work tirelessly for that, but we also need you to take care of yourselves and of others and of your surroundings,” he said.