Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized on Monday for weaknesses displayed by authorities in dealing with the 586 fires that broke out in many parts of the country, adding that finding solutions to the problems of those affected by the fires is now the government’s first priority.
He noted that officials who failed do do their job properly will be made responsible for their actions, adding, however, that dozens of evacuations were successfully held in areas affected by the fires, something that required organization on the part of the state that was not self-evident.
Today, he added, he approved an additional budget of 500 million euros specifically for Evia and Attica.
"The last days have been one of the most difficult for our country for decades. We gave, and are still giving, the battle with all our might. But we are facing a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions: in a few days, 586 fires broke out in all corners of Greece. With fires which, due to the unprecedented heat and the many months of drought, are now very difficult to extinguish. Many countries are already assisting us with resources and staff. I thank them for their solidarity,” said the Greek premier.
“The fact that people were rescued, with complete evacuation plans, is due to the professionalism of the Civil Protection Service, the action of the Police and the Coast Guard. It was not self-evident, nor a given. The same goes for the protection of many settlements that were not burned down thanks to the self-sacrifice of firefighters and volunteers, and of course our pilots and the Armed Forces. Within a few 24 hours in 141 areas, 62 organized evacuations of residents took place. The extent of the disaster, especially in Evia and Attica, darkens the hearts of us all. And first I apologize for any weaknesses that existed.” added Mitsotakis.
He went on to say that “Our reactions, however, must not be blind. Any failures will be identified. And the responsibilities will be assigned whenever and wherever needed. The first issue, right now, is solutions. Just as the first issue was and remains the protection of human life. That is why the account of this experience must include not only what was lost, but also what was saved in such a natural flame that has no precedent.
It is obvious that the climate crisis is now knocking on the door of the whole planet, with fires that last for weeks. This is the reason, not an excuse, nor an alibi. And I will say it clearly: we may have done what was humanly possible, but in many cases this did not seem to be enough in the unequal battle with nature.
We owe it to ourselves to grit our teeth and move on. Other times the country experienced disasters but remained standing. The same will happen in this adventure, turning our sadness into strength.”