NEWS

Slow reaction claims rejected

The massive damage incurred by the blaze that engulfed parts of Halkidiki was not the result of poor coordination efforts among state services, the government argued yesterday at the same time as it announced measures aimed at helping the victims of the fire. Opposition parties and residents affected by the blaze have accused the state of taking too long to act to put out the fire that burned down thousands of hectares and around 80 holiday homes. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos denied that there was any negligence but hinted that the government would look further into the issue. «It is not the time to be placing the blame on people,» he said. The government will provide financial aid to residents who saw their homes go up in flames and will also give 250,000 euros to local authorities for machinery damaged in the blaze. As doubts linger regarding the effectiveness of firefighting services, employees said that despite the provision of modern equipment staff numbers remain unacceptably low. The president of the Firefighter Officers Association, Nikos Diamantis, told Kathimerini that a lack of personnel is the department’s biggest problem.