Government compensation promised to victims of Greece’s wildfires has started to be distributed. Emergency payments of 3,000 euros are being offered to those who have lost their homes: 10,000 is being given to families who have lost loved ones. “It’s not enough,” said one man. “Our properties are destroyed. I lost 800 olive trees. What can we do with this money. It will cover our initial expenses.”
As authorities say many of the fires now look like they are being brought under control, experts are moving in to assess the damage. Thousands of residents are returning to what is left of the many villages ravaged by the flames, which claimed at least 63 lives.
One woman said: “We cannot rebuild anything. Everything is destroyed. All the olives, the people who are staying here, they don’t have anything. All the olives are destroyed. We have our oil, we have our oranges, and now it’s nothing. Nothing, nothing. Everything is damaged.”
Just weeks ahead of a snap election, Greece’s conservative government has come under increasing attack for the way it dealt with the fires. Critics, including the opposition, accuse the government of incompetence, saying the help was too little, too late. Foreign firefighters are still arriving to battle the remaining blazes, and foreign countries are being urged to provide financial help. The government is vowing to hunt down the people believed to have deliberately lit many of the fires.