Erimitis Plus: "Let΄s not miss the forest by focusing on the trees"
CORFU (Erimitis Plus Association). Before anything else, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the two pilots and the farmer who lost their lives in Karystos and the woman who burned to death in Platanos Almyrou.
The fire, which had been burning for three days in northeastern Corfu, burning everything on its way and threatened villages and infrastructure, apart from the efforts of the firefighting forces, highlighted once again the complete lack of a fire protection system by the state and its inability to properly assess specific situations on the ground which led in many cases to the unnecessary generalised use of the 112 service, creating confusion and panic.
The huge mobilisation of volunteers (not only here but in all areas of the country that are battling with the fires) that helped the firefighters is to be congratulated, as they risked their lives to contain the flames, offering all kinds of help.
This proves the society's solidarity with those who were trying day and night to protect human lives, properties, homes, the flora and fauna and the natural environment.
It is strange, however, that instead of facilitating the access of volunteers to the areas where the Fire Service was operating, it was blocked by police.
Every year, it is tragic that human lives are lost to fires, and hundreds of thousands of stremma of forest land turn to ashes because of the neoliberal concept of the state.
The environmental cost with the destruction of the country's ecosystems and protected areas is incalculable.
Billions of euros of damage to agricultural crops, livestock losses and infrastructure, with all that this implies for agricultural production, the economy, floods, the acceleration of the effects of climate crisis.
The fact that the flames in Almyros, Magnesia, "reached the camp of the 111st Combat Wing, as it became impossible to contain it" with all the unthinkable that followed, while the Minister responsible for the "protection of citizens" was enjoying his holidays, shows the country's seriousness in the field of civil protection! What is happening is not "unprecedented" or "unexpected" but recurring and expected.
When the fires were devouring forested areas, houses and infrastructure in Rhodes, Corfu, Attica and later Magnesia, the Prime Minister stated from the Parliament that "not all the burnt areas will be reforested because wind turbines must be installed somewhere" which, by the way, are directly linked to his family and close political environment.
The Minister for "Environment and Energy", on the other hand, in an interview with CNN on 21 July talked about private individuals being involved in forest management!!!
By putting all the above together, the citizens can understand what interests are behind the actions of the arsonists, why the country with these politicians in power will never have a comprehensive fire protection and prevention plan and why their rhetoric about protecting the environment and halting the climate crisis is fake and hypocritical.
It is worth reminding Mr. Mitsotakis' unbelievable statement on 10 July 2020 that "the forest (of Erimitis) will one day burn" and a few days later the forest burned down and within a few days the bulldozers completed the destruction in the ashes.
We should also talk about the fact that, while our society was trying to save what it could in terms of forest land, flora, fauna, infrastructure, houses and villages, the state which is hypocritical when it comes to environmental protection and serving intertwined economic interests, granted permits for the total destruction of the coastal part of Erimitis' ecosystem.
Society is furious... Erimitis is ours and will remain ours... let your government and those who violate it realise this!