Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was confronted by the rage and desperation of citizens when he visited areas ravaged by wildfires this morning.
The minister had some intense verbal exchanges with residents of Mati, who said that they were left to the mercy of God.
“You allowed people to be burned for no reason. You left us to the mercy of God,” said one resident who lost her home in Mati.
“Why was Marathonos Avenue closed? Why was there no evacuation? How were the summer camps evacuated?” she asked.
A young woman, crying, shouted at Panos Kammenos, “We have nothing left. We were burned. They told us to dive [in the water] to save ourselves. How can old people plunge in the water?”
At a loss for words, Kammenos said, “We will open roads toward the sea. These things happened. Now there will be access to the beach.”
Earlier, at a meeting at Rafina’s City Hall, Mayor Vangelis Bournous said that 25 percent of homes (about 1,500), including his own, were totally destroyed. Fifty percent of homes were partially destroyed, and 25 percent remain unscathed.
The mayor of Rafina requested of the defence minister that the government provide nursery school teachers to staff day care centres in the area, so that the children can engage in creative activity and be kept at some distance from the horrifying situation. He also asked for the army to assist in rebuilding the closed gym in Neo Voutza.
Bournous said that if the army had not managed to contain the wildfire at military facilities at Agios Andreas, the fire would have leveled the entire area, resulting in total destruction.
Kammenos said that the defence ministry intends to contribute to the complete reconstruction of the area. He said that anti-flooding works are extremely important and that the ministry will provide the necessary machinery.
Kammenos stressed that the town planning must change and that roads towards the sea must be opened, so as to avert yet another tragedy.
Kammenos visited an army operational centre that has been set up in the area, as well as a mobile kitchen that prepares meals for residents and security forces working in the area.