At least 15 lives were lost, dozens more were endangered, estates were destroyed, entire areas drowned in mud, all just a few kilometers from the center of Athens.
This is what it took for all those responsible and not responsible to ask who is to blame and why we are unable to avert a tragedy.
There were back-to-back meetings, statements, and orders to mobilise state services, but the disaster had already happened.
The tragic events in Mandra, Nea Peramos and the wider area did not come out of nowhere. The meteorological service had in a timely manner warned us of emergency weather conditions. Expert scientists had for some time warned about the dangers in these locations. The Attica prefecture had said it was ready to handle extraordinary conditions.
Yet we are confronted with a tragedy.
The worst part of all is that in a short time, when the disaster has been “forgotten”, as occurred with previous cases, again nothing will change. Again we will be rushing to save the situation after the fact because the state’s services, with rare exceptions, remain disorganised, because successive political leaderships had other plans and other priorities…
Everyone by now knows that in Attica with its disorderly construction, a huge number of illegally rubble-filled riverbeds – which once played a key role in draining the water – have been turned into buildings plots, and the inadequate infrastructure, wherever it exists, does not suffice to fulfil the role they played.
When even the national highway becomes a death trap, one realises what can occur in more remote areas, forgotten by everyone.
Western Attica has once again paid the price for a state that is out of touch and inadequate in managing emergencies.
Extreme weather conditions existed and will exist, perhaps with even greater intensity. But unfortunately the readiness of the state machine will always come after the fact – after we have mourned for human lives and when we will be counting destroyed properties – just in time to distribute paltry benefits.
Obviously it is possible to confront extreme situations, the consequences of which could not have been foreseen.
But for all that occurred in Mandra and its environs, there were multiple warning signs that were ignored.
Let us not then blame our inclement weather and declare national mourning after the fact. Government members, regional leaders, and local officials are elected to foresee, to plan, to manage problems, and not merely to mourn after the tragedy…