March 31, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

"It’s never happened before, and here it is again"

They knew at least a week in advance that two cyclones would hit central Greece, the Aegean islands and Crete in succession. It was known that the second wave of bad weather would be more intense than the first.

Thanks to meteorologists, they knew in detail how bad weather would manifest itself. They even knew the duration and density of the snowfall.

The day before the arrival of the snow front, officials and fire service officers flickered on TV screens, and behind them, in the background, as a decor, flickered their cars with their headlights on. The population of the country should have seen that the state mechanism was on standby.

And the first snow fell early on Monday morning. Both the second and the third wave of snow, as predicted. Attica was covered with snow, and the roads were covered with snow. Thousands of cars were blocked at Attiki Odos. Wild cork in Katehaki. The center was unusually free. Mesogion and Kifisia avenues stopped. Vassilissis Sofias Avenue was in total chaos. Problems on Poseidonos Avenue. The national road that stopped after Metamorfosi is a nightmare.

In short, “expected-unexpected” snowfall paralyzed the entire metropolitan area. Be it rain, snow or fires, Attica is paralyzed. Weather, extreme events, and perhaps our bad luck are usually to blame. But incompetent ministers, responsible officials and all those who make decisions, those who rule the country are never to blame. Responsibilities at this point become a ball that they throw at each other.

Incredibly, the minister responsible for the protection of citizens issued a statement blaming the management company Attiki Odos for the chaos and inability to deal with the situation. Even demanded prosecutor’s officeso that she opens a criminal case against the company “For obstructing traffic.” The company also issued a statement blaming citizens who do not have the necessary snow driving experience. That is, we are also to blame. Wonderful.

Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, from the well-known ruling dynasty, is the Minister of Transport. He is responsible for the main arteries of the country. Unfortunately, he is in no way like his determined uncle. Mr. Kostas Bakoyannis, also from the dynasty, is the mayor of Athens. He knows how to arrange flowerpots where they are not needed, and palm trees in tubs on the road. He also knows how to draw boulevards and is very famously spend municipal money. He does not know only one thing: how to prevent a traffic collapse at the first snow, at the first strong thunderstorm, or in general in any non-standard case.

They knew everything before. They have been informed. They could have prevented. But they didn’t. Their helplessness and incompetence is evident. As before, they were unable to apply obvious measures that had been worked out hundreds of times by their colleagues in other cities and countries. As in the summer, during the fires, no measures were introduced that could correct the situation or significantly alleviate it.


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