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Politics

Mitsotakis Chairs Government Meeting on Protection Against Fires

ATHENS — As the climate changes, so must people's behaviour, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed on Monday during a meeting on protection from wildfires, held after the huge forest fire in the Geraneia Mountains.

"Obviously, our first and primary goal must always be the protection of human life and property," he underlined, while pointing out the need for people to behave responsibly.

"We cannot have farmers burning branches in their fields when the fire season has already started. Municipalities and farming associations should start an information campaign. And we should not forget that the greater percentage of fires that you have to deal with each year start as a result of human negligence," the prime minister said during the broad government and local government meeting that he chaired at the headquarters of the civil protection agency.

The meeting was attended by 11 Attica mayors, in charge of the 18 areas classed as high risk for fires, who joined via videoconference.

Mitsotakis said that a difficult summer lay ahead, made worse in Attica by the after-effects of the Medea storm and the very great number of fallen trees and branches this caused, which had yet to be cleared away.

Addressing local government officials, in particular, he highlighted the risks for the 18 areas of mixed forest and urban land and stressed that special operational plans were needed there.

According to the prime minister, the best possible preparation has been made on the level of central state mechanisms and with respect to the fire brigade. "I believe our cooperation, this year also, will be flawless so that we keep to a minimum – at least in Attica – the repercussions of any fire that we need to deal with," he said.

The meeting was also addressed by Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, who said that the infrastructure and capacity of the entire civil defence mechanism has been upgraded, and was prepared to "be deterrent and to protect human life, primarily, and then the environment."

Alternate Interior Minister for Local Government Issues Stelios Petsas, on his part, said adequate funds had been directed to local government to cover fire protection preparation, of which 2.5 million euros had been sent to Attica alone.

Deputy Civil Protection and Crises Management Minister Nikos Hardalias promised that the government will make constant improvements in its organisation and infrastructure.

The 18 high-risk areas in Attica include Kato Poseidonia and Dionysis in the Lavreotiki municipality, Hamolia and Agia Kyriaki in Markopoulos, Agia Kyriaki and Agia Triada in the Spata/Artemida and Pikermi-Rafina municipalities, Kallitechnoupoli and Dioni in Rafina/Pikermi, Agios Andreas and Schinias in Marathonas, Drosia, Dionysos and Ekali in the Dionysos and Kifissia municipalities, Panorama, Vlastos and Ippokratios Politia in Oropos, Thrakomakedones in Acharnes, Agia Sotiria and Agios Nektarios Vilia in Mandra and Peristeria on Salamina.

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