No excuse for inertia

Even if one buys the excuse about the supposedly tough weather conditions and accepts the argument that the disaster was a result of extensive illegal construction in the area, there is no excuse for the response to the deadly blazes in eastern Attica last summer.

The officials’ inertia in the wake of the fires is unjustifiable. In fact, the word inertia is too lenient to describe the failure of municipal authorities to sign up to the fire service’s training programs that were funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Of the 395 local government organizations that were invited to participate in the program, only 83 responded.

The poor response is testimony to the fact that, except for the unfavorable weather or the illegal fences blocking escape routes to the sea, much of the blame in such situations lies with bureaucratic ineptitude.