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Greece Getting 150M Euro EU Loan for Floods, Climate Change

September 27, 2019

ATHENS –  Having suffered deadly foods, Greece will receive a 25-year, 150-million euro $164.2 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for programs to stop those disasters – some that critics said were caused by state negligence – and deal with climate change.

The funds will be invested in 10 projects over the next four years in Athens, Thessaloniki, northern Greece and Peloponnese, which will cost another 205 million euros ($224.18 million) beyond the subsidies.

This is the largest ever support provided by EIB to Greece for new investment to protect homes and businesses from flooding, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said in a report, which added that the loan agreement was signed by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Konstantinos Karamanlis and EIB VP Andrew McDowell.

“New investment is essential to save lives and property from flooding in vulnerable communities across Greece. Sustainable development is a high priority in the agenda of the Greek government to ensure environmental protection and act decisively towards addressing the impact of climate change,” said Staikouras.

“I welcome the European Investment Bank’s support for new investment to reduce the risks of flooding in Greece. Similar schemes have been tried and tested elsewhere in Europe successfully,” added Karamanlis.

McDowell told the news agency that the EIB is committed to accelerating climate-related investment that both improves protection against extreme weather events and reduces carbon emissions.

“This new investment in Greece to protect against a changing climate demonstrates the close partnership between the Greek government and local authorities, the EIB and European Commission to support climate action and reduce the risk of future flood damage,” he said.

Since 2000, more over 16,000 people have been directly impacted and more than one billion euros of economic activity damaged by flooding in Greece, the government said.

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.

Others facing questions include Mandra Mayor Ioanna Kriekouki, officials at the local authority’s technical department and other officials at the forestry and zoning services of Aegaleo, the  neighboring district.

Analysts said the floods damage and loss of life were mainly caused by unlawful building that had blocked gullies and run-off paths with building without permits common in Greece, even on state lands supposedly protected by the state.

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