Following months of investigation, the Athens prosecutor’s office has summoned Attica Regional Governor Rena Dourou and another 10 officials as suspects in connection with the flash floods in Mandra, western Attica, last November, which resulted in the death of 23 people and the destruction of hundreds of properties.
The prosecutor, Sotiria Papageorgakopoulou, who oversaw the investigation into the disaster, will be expecting Dourou and the other suspects to explain why critical anti-flood works had not been in place.
Apart from Dourou, those to be questioned include regional officials responsible for flood prevention work, Mandra Mayor Ioanna Kriekouki, officials at the local authority’s technical department and other officials at the forestry and zoning services of Aegaleo, the district neighboring Mandra.
The suspects are expected to give their depositions to the West Attica Police Directorate over the coming days.
The case file is then to be sent back to the Athens prosecutor’s office, which will determine whether there are grounds for criminal charges to be brought, most likely before the end of October.
The charges faced by the suspects include manslaughter through neglect, grievous bodily harm, provoking floods and violating construction regulations.
It is expected that the prosecutor’s office will also take civil action against the Greek state over the failure of the responsible authorities to take preventive measures, chiefly anti-flood works that could have averted such a disaster.
The investigation includes the findings of a probe by Public Administration General Inspector Maria Papaspyrou that pointed to widespread illegal construction, poor anti-flood infrastructure and numerous oversights as the main causes of the deadly flood.
However, unlike the prosecutor’s investigation, Papaspyrou’s probe does not attribute blame to Dourou.
The Infrastructure Ministry and Attica Regional Authority in August started anti-flood works in Mandra which are expected to continue through spring. The works are focused on unclogging and diverting the natural streams of Soures and Aghia Ekaterini that run down the slopes of Mount Pateras and through Mandra but have been blocked up by illegal construction.