First report on deadly July wildfire blames omissions, mistakes by relevant state authorities

22 August 2018
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One of the first preliminary reports on last month’s deadly wildfire in eastern coastal Attica prefecture, which submitted on Tuesday to the head of the Athens first instance prosecutor’s office, assigns the primary blame for the catastrophe on omissions and mistakes by relevant authorities.

The report was compiled by a technical adviser, Andrianos Gourbatsis, hired by the families of two of the nearly 100 victims in the July 23 wildfire, which torched practically all of the once pine-covered and haphazardly-built Mati settlement.

The centrally-managed general secretariat for civil defense, the elected regional authority’s leadership, municipal officials as well as the fire brigade and police were name, in the report at least, as failing to prevent or adequately respond to the wildfire.

No proper warning was given to the residents of Mati to immediately evacuate the area as gale force winds pushed the wildfire front from west to east on the afternoon of July 23, trapping residents amid the flames, smoke, narrow roads and cliffs facing the southern Evoikos Gulf to the east.

In the days after the most deadly wildfire in Greek history, and among the worst such disasters worldwide, the leftist-rightist government initially cited the possibility of arson, then illegal building in the area as a contributing factor and even climate change.

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