Outrage against Greek PM Alexis Tsipras by the public over the handling of the tragic wildfires in the coastal region of Attica, which led to dozens of deaths is growing, as pressure by opposition parties has intensified. As Reuters news agency reports, Tsipras attempted to relieve the political pressure on him by appearing on state broadcasted and assuming the political responsibility for the fire and the deaths, but questions still need answering. As the piece in Reuters is entitled “PM’s words mean little to fire-stricken Greeks standing on ashes.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced mounting criticism on Saturday after wildfires that killed at least 88 people plunged Greece into grief just as it was healing from years of painful bailouts.
Survivors and political opponents accused Tsipras and his government of insensitivity for not apologizing for Greece’s deadliest blaze in memory and for failing to prevent the tragedy.
He cut short a visit to Bosnia on Monday night, rushing home hours after the killer blaze broke out near Athens. But falling off the radar for three days after that has infuriated some people.
“How does he plan to redeem this political responsibility? What does political responsibility mean?” a 79-year-old man standing in front of his burnt home told Skai TV.
Venting anger, survivors and political opponents want to see officials resign over the failure to prevent the disaster amid questions on why an evacuation did not take place.
Tsipras appeared on TV screens on Friday to chair a cabinet meeting after an official three days of mourning ended. Aides said he had been busy coordinating the disaster response.
He said he took “full political responsibility” for the disaster. But for those who survived the inferno, the words meant little.
“Words are nice … but I want him to tell me and the people who perished, our friends … whose fault it is, if not his. I’ve reached my limits.”
The wildfire in Mati laid bare decades of ills of the Greek state – unlicensed building dotting the Greek landscape, tolerated by the state as governments turn a blind eye to non-compliance and eventually legalize built homes to win votes.
On Monday night, five hours after the fire had started, state TV showed Tsipras rushing from the airport to an operations center in Athens, asking ministers in a live broadcast what happened and how many personnel had been deployed to put out the flames.
He did not ask nor was he told anything about fatalities in Mati, the small seaside town where dozens were trapped by advancing flames and died. At least not on camera.
reab more at reuters.com