Greek fires: months after Mati disaster residents demand answers

Greek fires: months after Mati disaster residents demand answers
By Euronews
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Euronews goes back to the popular holiday resort of Mati in Greece nearly 5 months after wildfires left scores dead and injured.


The megafire which swept through Neos Voutzas and Mati near Athens in Greece on July 23 left behind a wave of destruction and grief changing the lives of many people in the popular holiday spots. Officially 99 people died. Hundreds were left with injuries. Kalli Anagnostou and her son had moved from Dubai to live in Mati permanently. They escaped the flames at the very last moment.

''I saw from the window, that the flames were passing by our house. We got out, panicked, and we were running through very thick smoke. We couldn't see anything. What I remember next is that we were in the rocks and we were all shouting, crying, some were jumping in the sea despite the big rocks that were there, some were describing how they got out, there were children there, we were all in a really bad condition and we didn't know what would happen next,'' Kalli said.

Months after the tragedy in Mati the remains of charred houses still remain. For the moment, the government has not clarified the terms under which residents in fire affected areas can begin rebuilding, though the authorities have started pulling down some structures in the last few weeks.

Vasilis Kanellopoulos watched on with his family as the house where he grew up was demolished.

''What the residents want to know is how to get the authorisation to start repairing the houses that can be repaired or build again the houses that were destroyed. Right now we don't see anything (from the state). People just wait and wait and try to find a way to get through each day. Some in the camps, others are guests in friendly houses. A lot of them they don't live in very human conditions. We don't feel that the state is close to us. In a natural disaster where the state was absent," he said. 

Authorities in Greece believe the massive fire in Mati was started deliberately and many  survivors also say they want those responsible brought to justice.

Reporting from Mati, Euronews' Fay Doulgkeri said: ''For the survivors in Mati, time froze on July 23. That day everyone here lost something or someone. Four months later they say that they feel outrage, saying they have heard a lot of promises but haven't seen enough action. They have warned they will not remain silent any longer."

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