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Greek Officials Face Probe Over Deadly Mandra Floods

September 30, 2018

ATHENS – Greek prosecutors have summoned 11 officials, including Attica Regional Governor Rena Dourou over the November, 2017 flash foods in Mandra, west of the Capital, in which 23 people died and hundreds of properties were destroyed.

That comes after months of investigation and with Dourou also facing a probe over the July 23 wildfires that killed 99 people in the seaside village of Mati. Despite the two debacles, she has the unconditional support of her Radical Left SYRIZA leader, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The prosecutor, Sotiria Papageorgakopoulou, who oversaw the investigation, will be expecting Dourou and the other suspects to explain why critical anti-flood works had not been in place, said Kathimerini, with the government promising in the aftermath they would.

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 district neighboring Mandra.

The suspects are expected to give their depositions to the West Attica Police Directorate over the coming days although previous governments also had allowed unlawful construction blamed for damming gullies and preventing the runoff of water, as illegal building in Mati did in blocking access to escape routes to the sea.

The government promised to demolish 1,185 buildings but hasn’t moved to do so yet, blaming legal procedures.
The Mandra case file will then be sent back to the Athens prosecutor’s office, which will determine whether there are grounds for criminal charges to be brought, most likely before the end of October, the paper said.

The charges faced by the suspects include manslaughter through neglect, grievous bodily harm, provoking floods and violating construction regulations. The prosecutor is also expected to take civil action against the government over failure to take preventive measures although such investigations into disasters in Greece haven’t led to anyone of consequence being jailed.

The investigation includes findings from Public Administration General Inspector Maria Papaspyrou that pointed to widespread illegal construction, poor anti-flood infrastructure and numerous oversights as the main causes of the deadly flood but didn’t blame Dourou, as did the prosecutor’s investigation.

The Infrastructure Ministry and Attica Regional Authority in August started anti-flood works in Mandra to unclog and divert the natural streams of Soures and Aghia Ekaterini that run down the slopes of Mount Pateras and through Mandra but have been blocked by illegal construction governments allow so the builders could be fined to make money for the state, without razings.

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