Alexis Tsipras: I take the political responsibility for this tragedy

After the fires in Greece, the head of government says that the victims have unjustifiably lost their lives. In the fire fighting, chaos has ruled.

Alexis Tsipras:   I take the political responsibility for this tragedy

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced that he will assume political responsibility for spread of forest fires in his country. The victims would have lost ir lives in an "unjustified and unbelievable way", said Tsipras at a crisis meeting of his cabinet in Ans. "I take political responsibility for this tragedy." The government will not try to evade its responsibility.

The number of deaths rose to 87 on Friday, when salvage forces found five more victims in burned-out houses of village of Mati near Ans. The catastrophe killed as many people as no or fire in Europe in 21st century.

"A country dominated by irregularities"

Tsipras criticized that many real estate in Greece would be built without official approval: "Today we have to be painfully aware that we are ruling a country dominated by irregularities." For decades, previous governments would have allowed illegal construction of houses. He promised to take all necessary steps to rectify this situation and help people.

Experts had previously criticised fact that planning failures had favoured spread of forest fires: buildings were built too close to forests and re was a lack of access to fire-fighting vehicles.

Tsipras also said that re were signs that arsonist was at work. "We have to be on our guard all summer." The arsonist could strike again. Interior Minister Panos Skourletis said that entire area affected by fires must be "redesigned": "Roads must be opened, access to sea must be opened."

Rescue workers should have blocked driveways

The mayor of affected municipality of Rafina-Pikermi, Evangelos Bournos, said in Greek broadcasting that rescue workers had blocked few accesses and prevented affected residents from fleeing unintentionally. "We bear all responsibility: government, rescue workers, citizens."

In Greek media had previously been reported by chaotic scenes in firefighting. Many people died in ir cars when y were stuck in traffic jam in small streets and circled by fire. Many ors fled from flames to nearby beaches or even ran into sea and were saved only hours later. At least six people drowned, Coast Guard and voluntary divers are looking for possible furr victims in sea.

The forest fires have damaged more than 2,000 houses, more than a quarter of m had to be demolished, Ministry of Infrastructure shared. Ministry staff inspected damaged houses in area of Rafina and marked buildings that were classified as permanently unstable, with a red X.

Meanwhile, identification of victims is being worked on. Relatives gave DNA samples at morgue in Ans. The police assume that identification in laboratories will take several days. Only n will re be clarity about exact number of missing persons.

Date Of Update: 28 July 2018, 12:00

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