Criticized for his management of floods in the center of the country, the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, judged on Saturday September 16 that Greece was experiencing “a kind of war in peacetime” due to climate change. He estimated that his country had just experienced “the most serious fires and floods in its history”.
After devastating fires in July and then at the end of August which ravaged more than 150,000 hectares, Greece was hit last week by floods which, according to police sources, left 17 dead in the center of the country, in Thessaly, an agricultural region. of primary importance.
During his annual back-to-school speech, the head of the conservative government announced in particular a strengthening of the role of the army in the fight against the consequences of natural disasters. A special reserve will be doubled to reach 600 million euros from 2024. It will be financed by increasing an occupancy tax on luxury hotels, he said.
Climate change, “new enemy”
“The cost of restoration will be considerable, but our economy is strong enough to support it,” insisted Mr. Mitsotakis during this speech at the International Fair in Thessaloniki (north). “What we have lost, State and citizens, we will rebuild together,” he said, calling climate change a “new enemy.”
He is expected to detail the measures planned to combat the consequences of bad weather during a press conference on Sunday.
Comfortably re-elected almost three months ago, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is facing harsh criticism from the opposition and part of the population affected by these bad weather due to the slowness of relief and a lack of coordination between the army. and civil protection services.
The left-wing opposition Syriza particularly criticized the lack of flood prevention work in Thessaly, already hit by devastating bad weather in 2020.