‘We are on your side’: Greek PM promises relief measures for people affected by wildfires

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The Greek government has announced twelve relief measures for residents affected by the wildfires raging across the nation.

With 44 new fires breaking between Wednesday and Thursday, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister for State Aid and Natural Disaster Recovery, Christos Triantopoulos, announced the measures last night.

Affected residents will receive a six-month suspension of tax obligations, compensation for home damages, housing assistance, cash first aid for housing expenses, a three-year exemption from property tax and a six-month suspension of enforceable decisions concerning damaged property.

Subsidies are available to farmers, renters, and fire-damaged businesses and upon application to local authorities. Fire-stricken people in Attica hotels will also receive accommodation.

After visiting affected areas of Athousa, Drafi, Dioni, Pikermi and Penteli, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “I want to assure all our fellow citizens who have been affected, that the State is on your side.”

“The State machinery will move with great speed and efficiency to rehabilitate those who lost their homes or suffered damage.”

Currently, there are wildfires burning in the western Peloponnese region of Ilia in Agnata, Tragano and Varda.

According to the region’s Vice-Governor, Vassilis Giannopoulos, the fires in Agnata and Tragano are “becoming more manageable” whilst the Varda fire is “still full-fledged”, he told AMNA.

In Varda, 32 firefighters with 13 fire engines and 2 helicopters are battling the flames. Two firefighters sustained burn injuries in the field at Ilia on Thursday and have both been hospitalised.

At Agnanta, some 115 firefighters with 36 fire engines and 4 ground teams were assisted by 6 water-dowsing aircraft and 2 helicopters.

In northeastern Greece, 102 firefighters with 29 engines and 4 ground teams assisted by 6 water-bombing aircraft and 4 helicopters are battling a wildfire at the Lyra dam in Soufli.

Head of Soufli’s Forestry Department, Gianna Diagaki, told AMNA that the 2km fire front is moving southwardly, and it includes 4 large fire pockets set apart from one another by 500 metres.

This comes as overnight, an investigation has been ordered into the large blazes that scorched thousands of acres on Mount Penteli, north of Athens and Megara in western Attica by the head of Athen’s Prosecutor’s Office, Maria Gane.

The prosecutor will seek to establish whether specific criminal acts, such as arson, burning of forests and violation of environmental protection laws have been committed.

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