Prompted by the escalating fire devastation that has seen lives lost, livelihoods destroyed and hundreds of thousands of acres burnt to the ground, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis talked to the nation last night in a televised address.
Mitsotakis praised civilians and firefighters for their brave efforts in battling the fires and reminded his audience that the main priority was human life, everything comes after that.
“Our priority is always the protection of human life. This is followed by the protection of property, the natural environment and critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, achieving all these goals at the same time is simply impossible.”
The Greek PM closed his televised address by referring to Climate Change and the necessity to final address the issue.
Read the full speech below:
My fellow citizens,
We are facing an extremely critical situation in our country. As, unfortunately, is the case in many other countries. After a 10 day heatwave we are called to manage dozens of forest fires simultaneously. Three of them, in Attica, Evia and Ilia are of huge dimensions and intensity.
Our priority is always the protection of human life. This is followed by the protection of property, the natural environment and critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, achieving all these goals at the same time is simply impossible.
The State apparatus, and especially the women and men of the Fire Brigade, have made superhuman efforts. We have to show them our gratitude in action, acknowledging that sometimes we ask them to do things that are simply beyond their power.
Unfortunately, the difficulties are still ahead of us and the coming night is threatening. Tomorrow we expect strong westerly winds in many areas of our country. We are talking about unprecedented conditions as many days of intense heat have preceded, which has turned the whole country into a powder keg.
With the Civil Protection Authority we have drawn up an emergency plan, placing 6 regions, including Attica, in a state of red alert. I urge you to limit unnecessary travel and to be extremely careful. If an evacuation order is issued for an area, please comply. Houses can be rebuilt and trees will sprout again but human life cannot be replaced.
And in this state of emergency, we must all stay united. The State, Local Government, volunteers, citizens, united we must give battle. There will be time for both criticism and self-criticism. But not now.
To our fellow citizens who are justifiably angry, angry, because they lost their property I want to tell them that the State will be by their side just as it was by the citizens who were hit by “Ianos” and other recent natural disasters. The properties will be restored and our farmers will be compensated. And of course the burned areas will be declared immediately reforestable, as, after all, the Constitution requires.
Finally, we owe it to ourselves to shield our country from the reality of Climate Change.
I am not looking for an alibi or excuses. We have made important steps forward in the organization of the State, but these are not enough when you have in front of you a natural phenomenon of such magnitude. In the last days we gave battles that we won and others that we lost. The State will try every day to get better. There is a need for citizens to remain calm and united.
WATCH THE TELEVISED ADDRESS HERE : Δήλωση του Πρωθυπουργού Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη