NEWS

Riot damage assessment in central Athens to begin

Municipal officials will soon begin surveying the damage to buildings and businesses in the center of Athens during Sunday?s extensive rioting, as the government is expected to sign a legislative act authorizing City Hall to take action as early as Friday.

Compensation funds will come from Attica regional authorities, which, according to a statement, will make available a total of 10 million euros. Kathimerini understands that shops and businesses damaged and looted by rioters will each receive up to 15,000 euros. The government said it wants to introduce an express procedure for outlets that were totally destroyed in the rampage.

Government officials met on Thursday to decide on the details of the operation. In the coming days municipal experts will inspect the damaged sites, using a list drawn up by the police, the fire brigade and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry. City Hall has announced a series of tax breaks, subsidies and other benefits for the afflicted businesses.

Rioters on Sunday destroyed or seriously damaged over 90 buildings, while police said at least 45 were burned.

Meanwhile, dozens of traffic lights that were destroyed during the rioting had still not been replaced on Thursday as central and local government officials passed the buck back and forth over the availability of funding.

The broken traffic lights have been creating serious problems as they are located at key junctions in the city center, with most of the lights on Panepistimiou and Stadiou streets said not to be working.

Attica regional authorities, who are officially responsible for repairs to infrastructure, said they had not received the funds to carry them out.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Makis Voridis said that he was waiting for the Development Ministry to transfer funding to his ministry ?in the coming days.?

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the traffic police said that the force had inadequate staff to cover all the problematic junctions.

Attica Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros remarked that ?it is not feasible to transfer responsibilities without the transfer of funds.?