ATHENS – A documentary on Greece’s SKAI TV showed a series of negligent inactions by the government over the July, 2018 wildfires outside of Athens that killed 100 people, many in the nearly destroyed seaside village of Mati.
At the time, Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis 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 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.
Major opposition New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis pounced after the TV airing and blistered the government, with Tsipras having plummeted in polls for reneging on anti-austerity promises for more than four years in power.
On Facebook, Mitsotakis decried “the indifference for human life and cynicism” of authorities who postponed the announcement of the growing death toll and tried to downplay the magnitude of the disaster.
“A lot of work is in store for us if we are to put some order into a demolished state,” he said in a direct reference to the elections which he is on a path to win.
The centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) said the documentary proved Tsipras and his ministers had concealed the real size of the death toll in their initial public speeches about the tragedy.
“It was not just a show of cynicism and callousness but a conscious attempt to distract and defraud citizens,” KINAL said, adding that the premier was fully responsible.