ATHENS – Rena Dourou, the former Regional Governor for Attica under the previous ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, will have to answer questions from a magistrate over her role in the deaths of 25 people in November, 2017 floods in the town of Mantra, west of Athens.
A months-long 66-page prosecutor’s investigation into the causes of the floods that also injured 13 and caused huge damage to homes and infrastructure, has pointed to negligence by local and regional authorities, noting that no flood prevention works had been carried out to avert such a disaster, said media reports.
She’s also facing charges for her office’s failure to adequately respond to July 23, 2018 wildfires northeast of Athens that killed 102 people and nearly wiped out the seaside village of Mati that wasn’t rebuilt as the then-ruling government promised.
Dourou, who was charged earlier this year in connection with the tragedy along with another nine regional, local authority, forestry authority and zoning officials, is expected to request an extension to prepare her defense over the floods probe, said Kathimerini.
The report by prosecutor Sotiria Papageorgakopoulou implicated officials who face charges of negligent manslaughter, grievous bodily harm, causing floods through negligence, violating construction regulations and breach of duty.
The Mayors of Mandra and Elefsina, Ioanna Kriekouki and Giorgos Tsoukalas, have already testified, as have several forestry authority officials.
Dourou is also among 20 officials who have been charged in connection with the fires. A documentary on Greece’s SKAI TV showed a series of negligent inactions and accusations then-Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tried to downplay the disaster and hide the death toll.
Tsipras said he would take “political responsibility” for it but there were only a couple of resignations from his government over the disaster after an initial response from officials there were no shortcomings.
Some of the families of the victims have filed suit and hired independent analysts who revealed similarly that the government response was chaotic and confused, police directed people in cars into the path of the flames, the Navy wasn’t sent to help rescue people who had jumped into the sea and there was no real central command operation.
Dourou is one of the most prominent politicians from SYRIZA and had deflected any blame for anything before the reports over the floods and fires also accused her of negligence.