x

Society

Residents of Burned Mati Say Tsipras Reneged on Rebuilding Help

December 30, 2018

Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who visited their burned-down seaside village, broke his work to help them rebuild after a July 23 wildfire that killed 100 people, a resident’s group in Mati said.

They were upset with lengthy delays in the process that will provide them assistance in repairing or rebuilding homes and businesses consumed by the conflagration, with the death toll blamed on the government not ordering an evacuation nor having a disaster plan in place.

“The prime minister promised a model town. What we appear at risk of having is an nonexistent town,” the group said, reported Kathimerini, calling on the government to push through bills and set a deadline for rebuilding a village that is mostly just charred buildings, scorched land, and blackened trees.

The group also complained of delays in a decision determining the subsidies residents will receive to carry out construction work on their properties, adding that priority should be given to permanent residents.

Tsipras twice visited the village, but not only long after the disaster while Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, leader of the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) who are SYRIZA’s junior coalition partners, went there and blamed the residents for building unlawful structures that barred routes to the safety of the sea.

Attica Regional Governor Rena Dourou, widely criticized for her response to the wildfires, and one of a number of officials being called to testify, in November  said she was blameless.

In a written statement to prosecutors investigating the conflagration and why the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition didn’t have evacuation orders or a disaster response plan, Dourou said while the area was under her jurisdiction that she’s not responsible for the chaotic response or the loss of life.

The regional authority, she said in her statement, is not responsible for “putting out fires or carrying out evacuations without the recommendation of the Fire Service,” without saying what her responsibility is then.

In what was said to be a lengthy statement given to investigators by her lawyer, she said that firefighting is not under local government but that her office is only to provide logistical support if asked for it.

A number of lawsuits were brought by the relatives of those who died and who are charging negligence as the government didn’t have a disaster or evacuation plan and didn’t alert people in Mati to flee as the flames roared down a hill toward them. Officials could face charges including manslaughter, arson and exposure to danger, said the paper.

RELATED

ATHENS — Greek authorities on Monday rescued 100 migrants found on a smuggling vessel in distress off the country's southern mainland, officials said.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Philippine and Chinese Vessels Collide in Disputed South China Sea and 4 Filipino Crew Are Injured

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese and Philippine coast guard vessels collided in the disputed South China Sea and four Filipino crew members were injured Tuesday in high-seas confrontations as Southeast Asian leaders gathered for an Asian summit where alarm over Beijing’s aggression at sea was expected to be raised.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris met on Monday with a member of Israel’s wartime Cabinet who came to Washington in defiance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the Biden administration intensifies its efforts to push more humanitarian aid into war-battered Gaza.

A new city claims the coveted title of America’s pizza capital.

An Israeli airstrike killed at least 17 people in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, adding that a total of 97 people had died in the last 24 hours.