Greek MOD Kammenos to BBC: Residents worsened disaster by illegal building

Residents claim the government did not help in the hour of need

In an interview to BBC, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the disaster was made worse by the fact that resident at Mati erected illegal constructions near the shoreline. The residents remonstrated with Mr Kammenos as he arrived at the disaster zone accusing the government of abandoning them.

From the BBC:

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has told the BBC illegal construction contributed to one of the country’s worst-ever wildfire disasters.

He said building by residents between wooded areas was a “crime” that had resulted in blocking escape routes.

Mr Kammenos was confronted by angry locals as he visited areas devastated by fires east of Athens this week.

At least 83 people died and search teams fear they will find further victims as dozens more are missing.

Dozens of rescue workers were searching a cliffside in the seaside town of Mati on Thursday where at least two people were believed to have died.

Many of the victims were caught close to the cliff as the flames spread rapidly, whipped up by winds of more than 100km/h (62 mph).

‘You left us alone’
Arriving in Mati, Mr Kammenos was surrounded by residents who accused him of abandoning them.

“You let people burn for no reason. You left us to the mercy of God,” a woman told the minister, who was accompanied by the local mayor and the head of the military,

One man told the BBC he had reached the fire station to ask for help, and found firefighters unaware of the blaze.

Another resident complained that people had been advised to dive into the sea to escape, when most of the elderly were unable to reach the sea in the first place.

Many of the survivors were saved by the sea, but dozens of victims were unable to reach the water.

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