x

Society

With Another Death in Hospital, Greek Wildfires Deal Toll Hits 96

August 15, 2018

ATHENS — The death toll from Greece’s July 23 wildfires that destroyed most of the seaside village of Mati and swept across others hit 96 after a 68-year old man died of his injuries in a hospital.
The fire service said in a statement that 13 people have succumbed to burns in hospitals where they were taken from Mati with the names of most having been released after the major rival New Democracy pushed the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA to reveal who they were.

A judicial investigation is underway into the causes of the blaze and into whether authorities responded competently to the blaze, which was Greece’s deadliest ever and the worst in Europe since 1900.

Shifting blame from the government for not having a disaster or evacuation plan in place when wildfires hit a judicial investigation reportedly said the death toll was the fault of mistakes by Greece’s fire service and regional authorities.

That was the finding, the newspaper Kathimerini said, after firefighters complained no senior command personnel came to help them fight the disastrous blaze in the village of Mati where most of the people died.

The fire service leadership had been informed that a fire that began on Mt. Penteli, whose landscape was destroyed in 2007 fires, was spreading to the settlement of Neos Voutzas but not enough firefighter were sent to deal with it.

Prosecutors are leading the probe into the fires have received testimonies that suggest high-ranking fire service officers did not heed the warnings of firefighters who called them from the scene, unidentified sources told the paper.

The prosecutors are also said to have evidence showing top fire service officers received calls 20 minutes after the outbreak of the fire as well as SMS messages warning of the serious risks posed by the blaze that went unheeded.

Efforts were made to create firebreaks as the blaze approached the coast at Mati, the settlement in eastern Attica worst affected in the tragedy but only four fire engines were sent as it turned into an inferno and people scrambled for their lives with no plan to get them out.

The report also was said to shortcomings by local authority officials as well as members of the country’s rescue services and that some who gave testimony as witnesses will become suspects in assessing blame.

Describing the fires as an “unspeakable tragedy” last week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – who said he took “political responsibility” but no blame – created a new emergency response agency, replaced the fire and police departments chiefs and accepted resignations from other officials, including then Citizens Protection Service Minister Nikos Toskas, who had insisted there were “no operational failures” in the response despite overwhelming evidence otherwise.

RELATED

ATHENS - A Mixed Jury Criminal Appeals Court on Friday handed down sentences of life and 15 years imprisonment on the two young men found guilty of the murder and gang rape of 21-year-old student Eleni Topaloudi, imposing the same sentence as that imposed by a lower court.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

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.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Amyntaio, a TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis

Dear readers, let me briefly introduce myself, while wishing you "a summer full of positive energy and good health.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.