Tsipras in Ilia: Mitsotakis has no sense of the extent of wildfire destruction

It would be better for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to visit areas destroyed by the wildfires, “than to be surrounded by flatterers who lead him to failed and tragic statements,” SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday from Ilia prefecture, in NW Peloponnese.

Speaking to the press during a tour of the area affected by fires, Tsipras said that “the extent of the catastrophe exceeds every assessment one can make unless they come see it in person.” In one week, over a million stremmas of forests have been burned, and possibly over 200 homes destroyed completely, he stressed, speaking of the fires that began in Greece on August 3 as “the largest environmental and man-made destruction since World War II and in such a brief time span.”

The main opposition leader also said that Mitsotakis did not show the necessary seriousness and responsibility over the fires, and accused him of “not having realized the extent of the destruction, and the extent of the inability of the state mechanism and of the ineffectiveness of the executive state,” or the extent of his own responsibilities. “There are some times that the constant attempt to beautify and use propaganda crashes into the wall of reality,” he added.

Among other things, he accused the PM of rejecting his own party’s seven-point proposals he announced rectnly, and said that the funding for the areas worst hit “are fewer” and will need “procedures that will lead these people to debts to the banks.”

During his visit to Ilia, local representatives complained to Tsipras that air assistance never came and the wildfires in the region went out of control, Syriza sources said.

This was an issue raised by the community leaders of Koliri, Olympia, Lala and Pelopi, who reiterated that the fire assistance came “when the fire was in the village,” as one said, while they asked for Tsipras’ help in creating fire zones and forest roads.

Tsipras said that besides funding and support for those suffering in the fire, reconstruction plans should be drafted at local level because they were more knowledgeable about the existing institutional structures and societies.

He also said that starting in September, the focus should be on how to guarantee fire-afflicted people’s income and how people will remain in destroyed rural areas.