The recent unprecedented floods, almost of biblical proportions, wounded the souls of Greeks everywhere, causing unimaginable suffering with losses in human lives and damage to production and to the country’s infrastructure.
Greece is not accustomed to such weather events. On the contrary, it is internationally known for its mild climate, which attracts many tourists. This is why the devastating floods have drawn the attention of international media – precisely because it is a phenomenon.
America, as is well known, is accustomed to such phenomena. Every now and then, a hurricane, a tornado, usually in the South, where the poorest states are found, sweeps everything away. Towns are destroyed by water. Entire neighborhoods are leveled by tornadoes. Infrastructure suffers billions in damages.
Electricity and drinking water are often cut off for days.
And most importantly, many lives are lost.
Do you remember Hurricane Katrina, which caused the death of 1,836 people, with damages ranging from 97.4 to 145.5 billion dollars – mainly in the city of New Orleans in 2005?
Yet, the machinery of state was caught ‘unprepared’ – and there is a whole federal agency specifically tasked for such cases. It took them days to provide the affected with bottles of water.
Nevertheless, the residents emerge from the rubble and rebuild from scratch. With only the clothes on their backs and some assistance from insurance, if they have it, and from the government, they rebuild their lives.
It is very difficult, mentally and emotionally, to witness the extent of the destruction caused by Storm Daniel in Greece. Villages submerged in water. Roads turned into rivers of mud. Collapsed bridges. Hearing about the dead and worrying about the missing.
Such a magnitude of destruction is indescribable, so the despair of the residents in the affected areas is understandable.
And of course, as always, ordinary people pay a higher price than others for the damage. They are the ones who must live in their basements. They rely more on the production of various vegetable and animal products to survive. They lack the resources needed to rebuild. They are the ones who lose the most when disaster strikes.
Much is said about the government’s inability to protect people from this disaster. It is natural for people in their despair to want to vent their frustration somewhere. And where else but to the government? To whom else can they turn? And it is expected that the opposition will want to exploit the disaster.
Unfortunately, these are outdated perceptions and political practices.
However, if we want to be honest with ourselves, very few things can be done by the government at the last minute when the threat appears on the meteorologists’ radar, apart from providing timely and continuous information to the residents about what to expect and what to avoid. And this was done.
Therefore, what the government can and should be judged by is the rapidity and effectiveness of the measures it will take to protect residents from now on and to rebuild the area.
It will require the service of experienced, capable, and incorruptible individuals, staffed with both state and non-state personnel granted special emergency powers to undertake this enormous task.
And once again, no one is more capable of handling this national disaster than Kyriakos Mitsotakis.