Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the wildfires in eastern Attica “an unspeakable tragedy” at the Interior Ministry on Thursday, stating that he wished this visit to the ministry could have been held under different circumstances.
“This tragedy has left a deep trauma in the country and in all of us”, he said opening his speech in which he presented a new plan on civil protection.
The General Secretariat of Civil Protection will be abolished and replaced by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which will be an autonomous state agency subject to the Interior Ministry, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during the presentation of the new civil protection plan on Thursday.
He said that head of the new national agency will be a person with recognised experience and operational skills as well as well as scientific expertise.
The head of the agency will be selected on the basis of all the rules of transparency and meritocracy, and the process will be under the supervision of the independent committee of experts and will be ratified by the parliament presidents.
The agency shall include a permanent and standing scientific council, with representatives from all the Greek science research institutes involved in natural disasters. Additionally, in the agency structure and will be headed by a standing and permanent management directorate comprising the Fire Brigade, the Greek Police, the Greek Red Cross, the Coast Guard, the National Ambulance Service (EKAB), volunteer groups, the Armed Forces General Staff, the Forestry Service, the Infrastructures Ministry’s technical services and the main research institutes of Greece, and educational institutes.
Moreover, the government has already ensured the total funding of the programme for the radical reorganisation and upgrading of the country’s capability to be shielded from future natural disasters, said the prime minister.
The earmarked funds, totalling 500 million euros, come from the European Investments Bank, the NSRF and the National Programme of State Investments will reach 500 million euros.
The prime minister made a plea to all the political forces of the country to support the effort to implement the new civil protetion plan, in order that nothing is forgotten or covered up in relation to the wildfires in Attica.
“I call all the political forces to support our initiative (the civil protection plan) that may really lead us as state and as society a step ahead”.
PM Tsipras calls on Max Planck research professor to set up wildfire study committee
The PM also invited Max Planck Institute researcher Johann Georg Goldammer to set up a committee under the aegis of the UN-affiliated Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) to investigate the factor that led to the Mati wildfire tragedy and propose measures to prevent such events from recurring, in a phone conversation on Thursday.
Tsipras said that he wanted the future committee to investigate facts and produce a report with necessary changes and policies Greece should adopt to prevent such deadly catastrophes in the future. He added that the move aimed at excluding any possibility of political influence and biased findings.
Dr Goldammer had been interviewed this month by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).