ATHENS: Faced with criticism for his alleged poor handling of the fires and floods that struck Greece this summer, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged fresh funding and reforms in order to fight the “climate war”.
The promises could reinvigorate the image of his newly elected government that has been tarnished by footage of residents taking refuge on their roofs in desperate need of rescue as rising waters engulfed poorly prepared regions.
“Greece is facing a war in a time of peace,” Mitsotakis said in his Thessaloniki International Fair keynote speech on Saturday. “Over a two-week period, we experienced the worst wildfire and the worst floods in our history,” he added.
“The climate crisis requires the mobilisation of the whole of society,” he added on Sunday on the sidelines of the fair. Floods devastated the fertile Thessaly plain in central Greece in early September.
The preceding storm killed 17 people, swallowed cotton crops and fruit trees and killed hundreds of thousands of animals on Greece´s breadbasket. The country was already grappling with “the biggest fire ever recorded in the EU”, according to a European Commission spokesman, in the northeast region of Evros bordering Turkiye.
Twenty-eight people were killed in the blaze, among them two firefighting pilots and 20 migrants in the Evros region. It followed violent flames that ravaged the tourist islands of Rhodes and Corfu in July, with thousands of evacuations ordered.