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Greece establishes new Emergency Response Service to deal with natural disasters

The General Secretariat for Greece’s Civil Protection is abolished and replaced by a new agency, the National Emergency Response Service. The radical change comes 18 days after the deadly wildfires in Athens with 93 people dead during which is Civil Protection was practically absent.

The new public service will be under the direct authority of  the Ministry of Interior.

Announcing the new Emergency Response Service, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the governor of the service will be a highly-skilled person with known experience and operational capacity and scientific competence.

The selection of the governor to lead the Emergency Response Service will be under all rules of transparency and meritocracy and will be conducted by an independent panel of experts and ratified by the Conference of Presidents at the Greek Parliament.

A permanent Scientific Council will work at the governor’s side will will consist of representatives form all scientific research institutes of the country involved in the field of natural disasters including Dimokritos Research Center, the National Meteorological Service, the Center for Maritime Research, the Greek Space Agency, The Hellenic Atomic Energy Commission, universities and polytechnic institutes and others.

Next to the Scientific Council, the permanent Management Command will operate and assist the governor as will. The Commend will consists form representatives from the Fire Service, the Police, the Ambulance Service, the Hellenic Red Cross, the Coast Guard, the bodies of volunteers, the Greek Armed Forces – Air Force, Navy and Land Forces – , the Forestry Service, the Technical Services and the Directorates of the Ministry of Infrastructure as well as from the basic research institutes in the country.of

The government has already secured the full financial funding of the program of “radical reorganization and upgrading the country’s ability to be shielded towards future natural disasters, ” Tsipras said during his speech at the Ministry of Citizen protection.

The funding totaling 500 million euros has been secured from the European Investment Bank, Development programs from the EU and the National Public Investment Program.

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