it became a grim symbol of the tragedy of the July 23 Greek wildfires – a luxury home and plot on a cliff above the safety of the sea below – but the scene where 26 people died huddled together was land unlawfully built on, one of the main reasons for the death toll.
Alternate Environment Minister Sokratis Famellos, in a joint press conference with government ministers, said the land had been encroached on and was officially designated as a zone for servicing bathers and therefore any construction was illegal.
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, leader of the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) who are junior partners in a coalition led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Radical Left SYRIZA party, went to the town of Mati where the spot was and blamed the residents for building unlawful homes that prevented escaped routes.
He said it was a “crime,” but didn’t mention – nor did Famellos – that it’s allowed by the government which then fines people for building without permits to bring money into state coffers.
This time though the scope of the tragedy was so extensive that the government ordered the demolition of 3,185 unlawful buildings in the area around Athens with no date on when it would begin, or if it ever would has similar promises have been made before but faded away.
The spot Famellos mentioned is where twin nine-year-old girls died in the embrace of their grandparents, with no indication they had anything to do with the usurpation of the land and as they died, too high up to jump into the sea and rocks below, or blinded by thick smoke and not seeing stairs leading down into the waters.