Friday April 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
22o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Protecting the weak

By Nikos Xydakis

The tragic death of a 13-year-old Serbian girl from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Thessaloniki home that had no power and no heating other than a brazier has drawn public attention back to a problem which first became painfully apparent last year. Simply put, the problem is that a significant part of the countrys population cannot afford to pay their bills to the Public Power Corporation even when they are being charged special rates because they are poor and are unable to heat their homes safely or protect their children and older family members.

The governments initiative on Thursday to take steps to ensure that the poor who have been cut off have their power turned back on is, of course, a step in the right direction. The measure comes later than it should have, though, as the problem became apparent last year when thousands of people did not switch on their central heating because of the cost and blankets of smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves covered almost every Greek city.

That said, better late than never.

The question that arises, however, is how the government will find those who are most in need and really help them. Recent reports suggested that municipal and regional welfare services will undertake the task, but it is not clear how they will go about it. The problem is that regional and local authorities are not exactly in much better shape than the central government, neither in terms of their finances nor in their ability to get organized. They have basically already done all they can do for the poor, and that is organizing food handouts.

The economic crisis, which is increasingly assuming the characteristics of a humanitarian crisis, caught the entire state by surprise and unprepared to provide a safety net for those who would be hit the hardest. The Greek welfare state was never much to boast about anyway. It was designed for periods of prosperity and was and remains prone to fund mismanagement. Six years of recession and three-and-a-half years of harsh austerity have driven the last nail into its coffin. The crisis has also exposed the fact that the welfare state was not set up to function in the long term, or to protect everyone from the unemployed to the uninsured self-employed professionals during the bad times.

The only thing helping the victims of the crisis is the immense effort being made by nongovernmental organizations and citizens groups, though the magnitude that the problems have now assumed are becoming overwhelming for them.

What we need now is a national effort. The state and citizens need to come together to think of ways to make sure that no more lives are lost as a result of the crisis.

ekathimerini.com , Saturday December 7, 2013 (13:30)  
At the mercy of fools
Putting the party above the country
Strong card in debt talks
Its too soon for Europe to declare victory
Papandreou under fire from coalition MPs over plans for joint appearance with Kouvelis
Plans by former prime minister George Papandreou to appear at an Athens book launch on Monday with Fotis Kouvelis, the head of Democratic Left (DIMAR) who quit the current ruling coalition l...
Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
Manonlis Glezos, a veteran SYRIZA MP and World War Two hero, said on Friday that he is standing in European Parliament elections next month out of duty despite his age of 91. "In the dismal ...
Inside News
Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
Ellaktor subsidiary Aktor has secured the biggest construction project ever obtained by a Greek company abroad by signing the contract for the study and construction of the Gold Line Undergr...
World seeks produce from Greece
Honey from Greece is considered a worthy wedding present in Japan. Elsewhere in Asia, gifts of Greek melons are wrapped up in packaging normally associated with jewelry. This countrys fish ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
4,000 officers to police Greek Cup final
Police says it will ban mass gatherings in central Athens amid heavy security measures planned for Saturday's Greek Cup final between Panathinaikos and PAOK at the Olympic Stadium. More than...
BASKETBALL
Never underestimate the Greek hoopsters
Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, who between them have won the last three European crowns, won again at home on Wednesday to take their Euroleague play-off series with Real Madrid and CSKA Mosc...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Papandreou under fire from coalition MPs over plans for joint appearance with Kouvelis
2. Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
3. Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
4. World seeks produce from Greece
5. Eurobank opens book for capital increase
6. Govt presents its growth model for the coming years
more news
Today
This Week
1. Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
2. Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
3. Papandreou under fire from coalition MPs over plans for joint appearance with Kouvelis
4. Putting the party above the country
5. Three missing from cargo ship that went down off Crete
6. Central Athens cleanup a sign of Greece's turnaround
Today
This Week
1. Greece startup leaders say they cant break jobless cycle alone
2. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
3. Mayoral candidates clash over Athens mosque plans
4. Putting the party above the country
5. Government looks to kick on
6. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.