Damning report on Attica floods

Damning report on Attica floods

A months-long investigation into the causes of catastrophic floods in Mandra, western Attica, in November 2017, which killed 25, injured 13 and caused massive damage to homes and infrastructure, has pointed to negligence by local and regional authorities, noting that no flood prevention works had been carried out to avert such a disaster.

Attica regional authorities had not carried out any anti-flood works in spite of the existence of technical studies and approved funding to support such a project, according to the report which was compiled by prosecutor Sotiria Papageorgakopoulou.

The fact that the same region saw similar floods in 2014 and 2015 should have made flood prevention works a priority for local authorities, the report said.

The 66-page report casts blame on both regional and municipal authorities for failing to proceed with the anti-flood works and violating construction regulations.

Earlier this week Papageorgakopoulou brought charges against Attica Governor Rena Dourou as well as Mandra Mayor Ioanna Kriekouki, Elefsina Mayor Giorgos Tsoukalas and Megara Mayor Grigoris Stamoulis. The charges include manslaughter through neglect, grievous bodily harm, provoking floods through neglect, violating construction regulations and breach of duty.

Critical factors that contributed to the “massive destruction” included uncontrolled construction in dried-out river beds, the inadequacy of technical works and the “complete nonexistence” of flood prevention works in mountain areas, the report said.

Particular blame was directed at the Municipality of Mandra, which the report accused of “criminal neglect and violations” including the unlicensed construction of a sports stadium on the bed of the Soures stream.

As with the case of last year’s catastrophic fires in eastern Attica, which cost 100 lives, the Mandra affair is expected to be undertaken by an investigating magistrate.

Meanwhile there is controversy over a provision in a revised penal code currently under public consultation that would lighten penalties for state officials found guilty of gross negligence in their response to natural disasters.

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