ATHENS -- President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou attended the start-of-year blessing ceremony at the primary school in the fire-stricken village of Agia Anna on the island of Evia on Monday, sending a message of hope and optimism to the fire-ravaged north of the island.
Speaking to the school children, Sakellaropoulou said that a new school year full of promise was about to begin, in which they will learn new things, broaden their horizons and get to know themselves better.
"I want to believe that it will go smoothly, that the coronavirus will stay outside of your schools because you will observe the measures, wear your masks, wash your hands often and, in short, take care of not just your own health but that of your friends, family and the community," she added.
The president also referred to the destruction wrought by the fires over the summer, noting that they had burned forests, homes and crops, as well as killing many animals. "They made us realise the consequences of climate change and think of ways to reverse it," she said.
While it was hard to rebuild a life on the ashes, Sakellaropoulou added, the most important things were human life and and human health. "When these exist, everything else is possible. The strength of human will often surprises us," she added.
Afterwards, Sakellaropoulou met local residents in the village square and was briefed on the extent and repercussions of the recent fires, after which she visited another fire-stricken villages, Kokkinomilia in the municipality of Aidipsos-Estiea.