Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras offered assurances to a group of survivors of the deadly fires in Mati and Neos Voutzas that he will meet 15 demands that they tabled during a three-hour meeting at the PM’s office yesterday. Environment Minister Yorgos Stathakis and Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis also attended the meeting.
Emy Krokidi and Nikos Ionas, two of the residents who were at the meeting, told Ta Nea that members of local organisations explained the serious problems faced by the fire-stricken, stressing that the paramount aim is for life to return to their communities.
Topping the list of concerns presented by the fire-stricken was the fear for their health, due to the toxic residue created by the fire, including asbestos, dioxin, and heavy metals. They demanded that samples of the air, water, and ground be taken immediately.
The Demokritos research centre is expected to do the necessary testing and directions will be issued by the KEELPNO centre for disease protection. The handling of the situation with asbestos will undertaken by specialised companies.
The residents are also seeking anti-flooding projects, the creation of new fire protection infrastructure, and police patrols throughout the winter.
Regarding compensation and economic relief measures, the PM offered assurances that there will be compensation for the re-building of homes up to 150 square metres.
An exemption from the 2018 ENFIA real estate tax will apply to all residents, regardless of damages.
Special tax relief measures for residents will be in effect at all tax bureaus. There will also be a benefit for the restoration of each home’s surrounding area.
The residents of Neo Voutza want the burnt surrounding forest to be mapped and be declared a re-forestation area.
Mati residents want their community to be characterised as an area of secondary (vacation) residences, and they said they received a commitment that a model community will be built.
The residents are also demanding an official list with the names of the victims.
The PM reportedly proposed a second meeting with residents in Eastern Attica later this week.