It was clear on the six-month anniversary that the government had done little or nothing to help victims of last summer’s wildfires or take the necessary measures to prevent another year of tragedy. Many of us knew that we needed to help ourselves, well before it was confirmed in May that Greece is not ready.
In the past weeks, there have been fires in Neapoli, Evia, Glyfada, Stamata, Glyka Nera, Imittos (several), Ag. Stefanos, Thebes, Markopoulou, Kythera, Galatsi and Kalamos, Rhodes, among others. Fires have become commonplace, sadly to the point many are apathetic or no longer shocked unless it directly affects them.
True, no country is safe. My home state of California suffers wildfires each year of greater magnitude than Greece, but the immediate and organized response by authorities is evidence that the government is ready to protect its residents. The Greek ministry’s report shows that Greece is ill prepared, with a system that is chaotic, uncoordinated and splintered amongst 29 prefectures and 45 authorities. Firemen do their best, but are short handed and some unpaid.
We cannot depend on the Greek state, and the worldwide community will likely be unsympathetic as last year’s donations in the amount of 160 million for fire aid still haven’t been dispersed. As we head into a heatwave this week and high winds persist, let’s take a moment to think about fire safety.
See, “Get ready for fire season.”
Photo from earthobservatory.nasa.gov