In Greece, following a summer marked by fires and floods, the prime minister believes that his country is facing “a kind of war during peacetime.”

Un pompier lutte contre des incendies dans le village de Kirkis, dans la région de l’Evros (Grèce), le 23 août 2023.

The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was criticized for his handling of the floods in the central part of the country. On Saturday, September 16th, he stated that Greece was experiencing “a kind of war in peacetime” due to climate change. He believed that his country had just experienced “the most severe fires and floods in its history.”

After devastating fires in July and then at the end of August that ravaged over 150,000 hectares, Greece was hit last week by floods that, according to police sources, caused 17 deaths in the central part of the country, in Thessaly, a region of great agricultural importance.

During his annual back-to-school speech, the conservative government leader announced, among other things, a strengthening of the army’s role in combating the consequences of natural disasters. A special reserve will be doubled to reach 600 million euros from 2024. It will be funded through an increase in a luxury hotel occupancy tax, he specified.

Le changement climatique, « nouvel ennemi »

“I cannot reword”

He should provide a detailed explanation of the planned measures to address the consequences of bad weather during a press conference on Sunday.

Confortablement réélu il y a près de trois mois, Kyriakos Mitsotakis essuie des critiques acerbes de l’opposition et d’une partie de la population touchée par ces intempéries en raison de la lenteur des secours et d’un manque de coordination entre l’armée et les services de protection civile.

Syriza, the left-wing opposition, has criticized the lack of flood prevention work in Thessaly, which was already hit by devastating weather conditions in 2020.

Le Monde avec AFP