Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has lamented the failures in dealing with the hundreds of fires raging across the country, particularly on the island of Avia and the Athens region. “The scale of the disaster is blackening the hearts of us all,” Mitsotakis said amid public criticism of the helplessness of the catastrophe. “I apologize for any weakness that existed. I understand the pain of our citizens who saw their homes or property on fire.”
The Prime Minister noted that the fires are the result of global warming. “Obviously the climate crisis is affecting every planet, with fires burning for days,” he said. “That’s the explanation, but it’s not an excuse or an alibi. We did everything we could, but in many cases it was not an equal power struggle against nature.”
Mitsotakis promised that the government would work to compensate those who lost their property. In the afternoon, the Ministry of Finance announced that residents in the affected areas will receive financial assistance and loans to repair or rebuild the damaged buildings and compensation for items lost in the fire.
Deputy Minister of Civil Defense and Crisis Management Nikos Hardlias updated today that in the first eight days of the month 586 fires occurred. “We’ve had to deal with the worst weather in the last 40 years,” he said. “We are not saying this, but the scientists. We are facing a unique situation in the entire history of firefighting.”
According to Hardlias, the country has been well prepared for fires in the last two years and during the current crisis 74 means of air use have been used, including 67 firefighting aircraft. “My resignation letter is in the prime minister’s drawer because every day I make decisions that concern human life,” he said. “I always have a sense of duty and have always fulfilled my responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, local and foreign firefighters, with the help of local volunteers, continue to fight the flames. Today another fire broke out in the north of the island of Avia, northeast of Athens, and as a result the residents of the village of Asminio were required to leave their homes as quickly as possible.