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Friday, February 3, 2023

Recovery plan for day after the disaster

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A burnt soccer field is seen on the mountain after a wildfire in Papades village on Evia island, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Athens, Tuesday. [AP]

Outlining the government’s plan at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting for the day after the devastating wildfires, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis unveiled a raft of measures to compensate and support those affected by the natural disaster.

He also noted that the review of the situation and the identification of any weaknesses will take place “after the end of the battle, which at least in Evia is still going on.”

The raft of measures he announced include immediate compensation and suspension of financial obligations for all fire victims, restoration projects, and medium- and long-term plans to reconstruct the productive foundations of the island’s economy.

The state will pay up to 150,000 euros to those who lost their houses. Candidates must fill in an application on the arogi.gov.gr platform, which will come online after August 18.

As for the companies impacted by the fires, they “will be compensated for 70% of their losses, with 20% being given as an advance.”

Those impacted by the fires will be relieved of paying the ENFIA property tax, as well as social security and tax contributions.

The state will also offer subsidies for rent. Farmers impacted by the wildfires will receive 4,000 euros.

With the fire on Evia raging for an eighth day Tuesday, he also announced a program to regenerate the island. The program will be overseen by land surveyor engineer Stavros Benos.

He stressed that in order to implement this program of aid and relief for the victims, “a lot of intensive work” must be done.

“We are working for the immediate relief of the victims, the restoration of the damaged areas and their protection from floods,” he noted.

He also referred to the proposals made by the leader of main opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, to deal with the situation.

Some of the proposal formulated by Tsipras, he said, are “difficult to disagree with,” adding that some are already being put into practice.

“It goes without saying, then, that the representatives of the opposition are welcome in all these initiatives,” he said.

“After all, yesterday I myself said that the tasks at hand today belong to the elected government, the responsibility for tomorrow belongs to everyone. Therefore, any positive contribution, wherever it comes from, is welcome,” he added.


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