Forest fires that have ravaged Greece for more than ten days have finally been extinguished. At least 64 people were killed in the Peloponese peninsula and more than 200,000 hectares of countryside destroyed. At its worst, nearly 100 fires per day were erupting last week amid widespread anger the authorities did not act quickly or do enough to limit the scale of the disaster.
The government’s promise to rapidly provide assistance for the victims has done little to ease tensions or contain the political fallout. The loss of life and property has exposed failures on several levels. Both the current and previous governments have been attacked for not tackling the constant fire-starting which is allegedly triggered each year by property speculators.
According to Greek media reports, the country’s fire brigades have been woefully under-staffed and lacking basic equipment for years.