Forestry officials, elected municipal officers and engineers from the private sector share the responsibility for the deadly flash floods that hit western Attica in November 2017, an official report published on Monday said. Twenty-four people died in the floods, that swept through Mandra and devastated the town after torrential rain.
Public Administration Inspector General Maria Papaspyrou said in an 82-page report that the civil services ought to have accelerated anti-flooding projects, given the history and frequency of the phenomenon in the area as recorded from 2014 on, and proposed that all responsible parties be prosecuted.
In her report, Papaspyrou said the following:
– The Forestry department of Egaleo delayed for three years the decision of what was forestland or not, thus delaying in turn the beginning of needed flood-protection works.
– The City Planning dept. of Elefsina did not follow through with the timely registration of illegal structures along the main streambed, allowing instead permits for building inside it. There are over 39 illegal structures lying in the bed, including storehouses, homes, gas stations, depots, and soccer fields, she said.
– The Mandra municipality itself allowed the building of a depot and a municipal playing field inside the streambed.
– Private sector engineers assumed and completed the construction of illegal structures within the streambed. via amna.gr
The first preliminary inspectors’ report in December 2017 had blamed “human irresponsibility and bureaucracy” as the causes that led to the loss of 24 human lives.
The inspectors found that the rainfall on the Mt Pateras was extremely heavy but the crucial role for the tragedy in Mandra was the simultaneous flow of big water masses along the rivers of Agia Ekaterini and Soures (blue lines on the map below, green are the flooded areas) that have been largely filled-in.
Mandra was again hit by floods due to torrential rains last week as the anti-flooding measures remain stuck in Greek bureaucracy.