After 15 days of extreme weather phenomena and 10 days with more than 600 fires, this was the first day that Greece was not in a state of red alert, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said during a press conference on Friday.
Kikilias spoke of a “difficult time” and emphasized the self-sacrifice and heroism shown by those fighting the fires, as well as the deaths of the two pilots.
The main difference with other years were the extreme weather conditions in which the state mechanisms had been tasked with managing the crisis. Politicians, the state and citizens must face these new conditions with seriousness, Kikilias underlined.
“Never before have we had a map on alert for so many days in a row, in so many regions,” he added.
Referring to the approximately 660 fires of the past two weeks, he said that most of them were put out but 10 of them had spread, becoming a test of everyone’s endurance. He noted that 74 people had been injured and three civilians had died, adding that the prompt use of the 112 emergency alert system for the evacuation of many areas, including the record evacuation on the island of Rhodes, had worked effectively.
Kikilias also noted that the state will do all that it should for the relief of fire-stricken areas and people.
Despite having prepared, the degree of difficulty turned out to be very high, he said, adding that where deficiencies or mistakes are found, there will be improvements and a review.
The climate crisis is not going away and we must adapt our policies on all levels, the minister stressed.
PS It is high time Greece realizes that the Climate Crisis is not going away even is not solely to blame for the wildfires. However, it is the government’s narrative to blame the crises to cover up its own inability, lack of adequate preparation such as forest management, evacuation plans, properly equipped firefighters and not staff shortage.