ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday paid a visit to the site on Marathonos Avenue used to store the burnt trees logged after last year’s destructive fire in the seaside town of Mati, Attica. The prime minister was briefed about the work underway to clear the site of the flammable timber by the foreman of the crew handling the clean up, which he thanked and congratulated.
“It was finally much simpler and easier to clean up the ‘time-bomb’ lot but someone had to get down to it,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the goal and his personal commitment was to improve life in Mati and heal the town’s hurts.
Mitsotakis said that a number of foreign universities were interested in a plan for Mati’s revival and that a plan for its reorganisation will be completed in a year from now, with the participation of civil society in helping to shape the area’s future.
He also highlighted that the clean-up was done without cost to the state and within the time allowed, pointing out that the contract made provision for the transfer of the flammable material to the site but not for its removal.
Protection of human life and property were paramount, the prime minister said, announcing a complete overhaul of civil protection and forestry policy with a focus on prevention once the fire season was over.
Mitsotakis stressed that all the fuel removed from the site, now and in the future, will be used and not burden the environment while promising to return the land to the same state as surrounding properties.
Referring to the Mati burn victims, he said the government took steps so that their treatment was covered by the state insurance healthcare provider EOPYY, noting that this was “the least we can do”.
The prime minister also spoke with local residents and local government officials and agreed to meet with them but not “on camera”.
Roughly 20,000 tonnes of flammable material had been left in the site, posing a fire hazard for the area. The prime minister had first visited a few days after being elected, when the clean up was commencing, following the government’s intervention and an invitation extended to private companies to undertake the work free of charge in the context of corporate social responsibility.