PM issues apology over ‘weaknesses’ in battling wildfires

PM issues apology over ‘weaknesses’ in battling wildfires

As various fronts, particularly on the island of Evia, continued to rage on Monday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized “for any weaknesses” in containing the wildfires and pledged that any failures will be identified and responsibility will be assigned.

“The extent of the disaster, especially on Evia and in Attica, darkens the hearts of us all. And I, first, apologize for any weaknesses that existed,” he said in a televised message, noting that the first priority was “to save lives.” Those responsible, he said, will be held to account and people whose property was destroyed will be compensated.

He said 63 organized evacuations took place in the past few days while 586 fires broke out around the country, which were made worse by the continuing heatwave.

Fires have destroyed swaths of forestland and forced hundreds of people to evacuate numerous settlements over the past week.

“I completely understand the pain of our fellow citizens who saw their homes or property burning,” he said in a televised message. “It is obvious that the climate crisis is affecting the whole planet. With fires that last for days. That is the explanation, but not an excuse, or an alibi. We may have done everything that was humanly possible, but in many cases this did not seem to be enough in the unequal battle with nature,” he added. 

He defended the planning of the Civil Protection service, saying that the fact that people were saved “was neither self-evident nor a given.” He also announced 500 million euros in immediate support, and a targeted program specifically for Evia.

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