ATHENS – The names of the 92 victims of the July 23 wildfires, identified despite some having been nearly incinerated, were sent by forensic investigators to prosecutors but are still being kept secret from the public.
The information will assist prosecutors in calling relatives of the dead and other survivors of the inferno to give evidence but the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition has refused demands from the major rival New Democracy Conservatives to give out the names.
DNA samples have been taken from the two unidentified remains but no relatives have come forward. The 92nd victim of the fires was an 85-year-old man, who died at an Air Force Hospital in Athens, Kathimerini said, bringing to a total of nine the number of victims of the blaze who died in hospital.
The probe into the fires, the worst destroying the seaside village of Mati north of Athens, is picking up although no cause has been determined and with the government under intense criticism for not having evacuation or disaster plans in place.
Prosecutors have taken testimony from 25 officials, including the current and previous fire chiefs, involved in responding to the disaster, and are expected to call five more, the paper said.
Officials have received 3,130 applications from people and businesses for financial assistance pledged by the government although it’s limited, with individuals getting a lump sum of 5,000 euros ($5,795) while businesses will get 8,000 euros ($92710.)
The Municipality of Rafina has pledged an additional 587 euros ($680) to each fire victim. As of Aug. 7, some 1.95 million euros ($2.26 million) had been paid out to 426 citizens and 184,000 euros ($213,238) to 27 companies although many homes were totally destroyed and the compensation far less than needed to help rebuild.
Survivors have also been receiving assistance from the mobile support unit provided by the Municipality of Athens. A team of nine psychologists and social workers have already met with 50 families who lost loved ones in the disaster, the paper said.