Greece announces € 300 million fire protection program

The implementation of a program worth 300 million euros over the next five years, aimed at preventing natural disasters, was announced by the Deputy Minister at a meeting of the General Secretariat of Civil Protection of Greece.

A special meeting at the Civil Protection Operations Center was held on 29 May under the chairmanship of the Minister of Civil Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis and the Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias, in the presence of the Deputy Minister of the Interior in charge of local government, Stelios Perithis, as well as the Deputy Governor of Attica. in charge of civil protection, Vasilios Kokkalis. The meeting discussed issues regarding the specification of preventive work by the municipalities of Attica in 18 regions, which were declared in a special mobilization status of civil protection. After the meeting, Mr Chrysochoidis noted:

“Today we held another extraordinary meeting with the mayors of 11 municipalities of Attica, 18 districts that were declared dangerous and vulnerable by the Civil Protection Service. This process is taking place for the first time because, as you know, the state of emergency is still declared after the natural disaster. So now we are following the reverse process. Eleven mayors, the Governor of Attica, Mr. Patulis, the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Mr. Petsas in charge of local government, Nikos Hardalias and myself are present to coordinate all these efforts. We do not want to leave anything to chance, we have very close cooperation with the mayors and the governor of the region to take all preventive measures, such as cleaning and collecting branches, which are envisaged by the Medea plan, as well as those that will be taken these days. so that, as we enter the period of fires, we can ensure that these settlements, Attica, all of Greece, remain safe.

He urged the townspeople, “everyone who lives in the suburban forests, in the villages that are in the forests, to clean up their plots, to be very careful on days when there is a danger of strong winds, not to create additional problems this summer: on the one hand, it’s good to spend time, and on the other – to avoid the dangers. “

“This year we secured funding, bureaucratic hurdles, immediate procedures so that cleanup can be done seamlessly, and of course, as you can see very well here, we have secured a collaboration that I believe will get closer and more effective. day by day”.

For his part, Deputy Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said: “The spirit and willingness to cooperate with the government and local authorities in our efforts to ensure a safe period of firefighting.” The important thing is that we have specific directions and a specific division of tasks.

In 11 municipalities of Attica, 18 territories were demarcated. In these areas, the General Secretariat of Civil Protection undertakes to clear their perimeter and therefore protect them from the outside. Within the perimeter, the municipalities take over the division of forest protection activities. There they will receive emergency funding from the Ministry of the Interior based on technical reports that will be submitted by Wednesday. “Any work that the municipalities cannot do will be done by the region, the governor of the region is here, or by the General Secretariat of Civil Protection, if there is a great need for it.”

“Thus, cooperation is required to achieve the best possible result in a short period of time. We will be ready for emergency funding, and in accordance with the Prime Minister’s instructions, for any additional emergency funding necessary to achieve the desired result. I hope that the ongoing efforts, dear Nikos, dear Michalis, after many decades, will bring results so that we can expand this program throughout the territory and protect human lives and our forests, “he added.

Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Anti-Crisis Management, emphasized:

“For decades, those of us who have worked in local government and state machinery can say that the problem of preventing fires was a problem that was often limited to buzzwords with bureaucratic hurdles that could not be overcome. For the first time since Law 4662 was passed last year, the government has clearly articulated a position and made prevention a priority and a stake. Already in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, already in cooperation with the region, always having a fire brigade as our operational unit, as well as with our heads of civil protection, we are preparing a pilot program, which from October, we hope, will become the prerogative of preventive works for the whole country. Starting tomorrow, we will build it in stages to reduce the risks associated with natural disasters and especially with fires. “

In connection with the question, he noted:

“There are funds for this pilot program that were subsidized by the Ministry of Finance to both the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Secretariat of Civil Protection. The region and local governments will be subsidized from these funds. However, already by order of the Prime Minister and with the consent of the government, within the framework of the Public Investment Program and the European Investment Bank, a special disaster prevention program is being prepared. A program worth 300 million euros for the next five years, which will answer not only questions about fires, but also questions related to protecting the country from floods, as well as a number of questions that we have been describing and observing all these years, but some bureaucratic procedures were in place, preventing us from implementing them. Citizens want solutions, they want results. The government is moving in this direction. This is the mandate and priority set by the prime minister. ”

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