Some 10 months after the devastating wildfires that engulfed eastern Attica killing 100 people, the Citizens’ Protection Ministry on Thursday launched a public debate on a new draft bill to tackle natural disasters, including the creation of a new national civil protection authority.
According to a ministry announcement, the draft law seeks to “radically restructure the country’s civil protection system in line with the standards of advanced countries.”
The announcement was made in the runup to local elections, whose main talking points are the role of local authorities in dealing with natural disasters and the responsibility of incumbent officials for last year’s fires, as well as the 2017 floods in Mandra, west Attica, which claimed 25 lives.
Critics, moreover, have slammed the government for taking so long to launch the debate on the restructuring of Greece’s civil protection system.
They also note that the firefighting season has already been officially launched and question whether authorities are prepared, given that the current civil protection system appears plagued by shortcomings and inefficiencies.
The new system up for debate envisages a comprehensive response – on the central, regional and local levels – to natural disasters regardless of their category, complexity and cause. Furthermore, it concerns all phases of the state mechanism’s mobilization – from prevention to recovery.
The Citizens’ Protection Ministry has called on citizens to participate in the debate and to submit their views on its internet platform. The debate platform will be closed at 9 a.m. on May 16.