Local authorities insist matters were ‘under control’

Local authorities insist matters were ‘under control’

With Attica still reeling on Wednesday, 48 hours after the heavy snowstorms ended, many roads remained inaccessible to cars even with chains, trees and branches were blocking streets and power lines were still dangling, while people struggled not to slip on the icy pavements whenever they decided to leave their homes.

However, most mayors in affected areas gave a completely different picture of the situation compared to that experienced by citizens who bemoaned a “nonexisting local government.”

The most commonly expressed sentiment by local authorities was that the situation is “under control.”

Indicatively, the Municipality of Kifissia sent out a Facebook post calling on residents to send emails in order to receive a certificate of impossibility of movement, since the efforts to clean the streets were ineffective.

The post received a barrage of responses from disgruntled people asking about the whereabouts of snow clearing machines and complaining about heating oil shortages.

“We’ve had two days of sun and are still buried in snow,” said one of the comments.

Despite the claims, like that on Wednesdayafternoon by the mayor of Maroussi, Theodoros Ambatzoglou, that all the main roads in the municipality, where there are large hospitals and maternity clinics, were finally opened, many locals told Kathimerini they were still trapped in their homes by the snow, which had not been cleared.

Many local authorities in the northern suburbs claimed that they needed more time to get things back to normal due to the intensity of the bad weather and the many fallen trees on the streets. For instance, the mayor of Papagou-Holargos, Ilias Apostolopoulos, attributed the delay in clearing even the main roads in his municipality to cars which were abandoned by citizens.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized on Wednesday for the state’s unpreparedness to deal with the impact of a severe snowstorm. 

“I would like to start with a personal and sincere apology to our fellow citizens who suffered for many hours, trapped on the Attiki Odos,” Mitsotakis said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting. “There were mistakes and shortcomings which have to be fixed,” he added.

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