As fire-fighters from around the world continue to battle blazes in Greece, the country’s prime minister is doing his best to combat mounting accusations of incompetence. Public outrage over the way the government has handled the disaster threatens to weigh heavily in next month’s general election.
In a televised address, Costas Karamanlis called for national unity in a time of crisis. “There are wounds which cannot be healed,” he said. “However, it is our duty to relieve the pain of our fellow citizens, to help them get back on their feet, to do whatever we can to ensure that the residents of these areas do not lose hope.”
In Athens 2,000 people took to the streets to vent their anger over the official response to the fires. And the Socialist opposition is joining in the criticism. Socialist leader, George Papandreu said the nation’s rulers had not even been able to save the lives of citizens, or save their property.
“Unfortunately they continue to act without the seriousness and sense of responsibility that these times demand,” he said.
The Peloponnese peninsula has been particularly badly hit by the fires and yesterday an earthquake was felt in the south of the country. Firefighters are gradually bringing the flames under control, and no new deaths were reported yesterday. But the disaster is far from over.