ATHENS – “This fire was 100 times smaller than the fire in Ileia,” Professor of dynamic tectonics and applied geology Efthymios Lekkas said on Thursday, to the private television channel Skai. Talking about the fire that had roared through the eastern Attica coastal resorts on Monday, he said a number of factors had contributed to the tragic outcome of the fire, chief of which was the town plan that served to trap people inside the seaside town of Mati and prevent their escape.
“It was the extreme weather phenomenon, the wind gusts, the speed of the fire, the forest that had not been cleared, the morphology of the terrain that helped its rapid advance from west to east, from Mount Penteli to the sea,” he said, but the decisive factor was the layout of the buildings and roads below Marathonos Avenue.
“It was a ‘trap’ town plan, that caught most of the residents, the people that lived there and the visitors. It was a plan that included roads that led nowhere, that were dead ends, and roads that led to sheer enscarpments above the sea,” he explained.
Comparing Mati with the town of Mandra in western Attica, he said the two cases were similar barring that the first involved fires instead of floods. “It was the residential fabric that was at fault. The town of Mandra was built on a river, while Mati and the surrounding areas are built in a region that is unsound in terms of urban planning, which is not in keeping with the dangers that may arise there,” he said.
He noted that very few Greek towns were built in an appropriate way, especially in terms of safety, and it was now a question of what could be done in all the areas of Greece that had been developed in the last four or five decades, with multiple violations of town planning rules and their subsequent “inclusion” in the urban plan.