Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greek forest fires - update

Yesterday at this time virtually every channel in Greece was broadcasting live coverage and commentary on the country's forest fire disaster. The screen was full of dramatic scenes of people fleeing the flames, begging the authorities for help or desperately trying to protect their homes using whatever came to hand. Today: nothing. I have been trying to find out what has happened over night and I can't find a single channel that covering the event anymore. Not one. Instead the TV stations seem more interested in discussing the results of the country's university entrance requirements which were announced this morning.

Although the worst of the fires seems to be over the strong winds blowing in the area still means that there is a chance that the fires could burst back into life. In addition only now can the true extent of the destruction wrought can be assessed. According to the European Forest Fire Information Service 31,000 hectares of forests have been lost in the Attiki region around Athens, more than the last 28 years put together. Click here for pictures of the day after taken in the Dionysos area near Athens,

Prime minister Kostas Karamnlis showed his support for firefighters by visiting them at their airbase in Eleusina. This was very nice of him and it's good to see they hold no hard feeling over the beating and tear gassing their colleagues received in March this year when they demanded the government honour its promise to give them permanent contracts. Also the 1000 other fire fighters who got roughed up by the riot police for asking to be paid for last summer's work will cherish the PM's words of encouragement.

A protest rally is being organised for this Friday at 7pm in Syntagma Square in central Athens.

No comments: