With the assistance of the army, the removal of dead animals in the area of ​​Thessaly is being carried out from today, at the same time that the Larissa Biohazardous Wastewater Treatment Plant was opened and is operating, speeding up the burning process and significantly reducing the chances of infectious diseases in the wider area after the disastrous passage of bad weather Daniel.

The involvement of the army in the animal collection operation was reported by Minister of Rural Development and Food Lefteris Avgenakis. More specifically, he stated:

Good evening from me too. The preservation of public health was and remains the first priority of our Government, alongside the actions that are being developed to restore normalcy as quickly as possible in the affected areas.

In this direction, it is a positive development that as of yesterday afternoon, thanks to the close cooperation of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, the Region of Thessaly, the Fire Department and the EMAK, access was restored and the unit was able to operate at the Larissa Biomedical and Environmental Health Center, which it has the capacity to handle 250 tons per 12 hours, which means 10,000 dead animals will be taken to the incinerator.

As of today, 40 members of the Armed Forces are contributing to the effort to collect the dead animals in the area of ​​Palamas. I want to thank them and say that their example should be followed by the Municipalities of the region. We understand the difficulties that small municipalities have, in particular. But addressing public health issues is the responsibility of all of us and cannot be confined to the narrow confines of each of us.

Everyone, but everyone, without any exception, must contribute, because we are all part of this testing society. Also, I want to implore everyone to be extra careful in what we say and write when it comes to special public health issues.

The Government, with the utmost responsibility, takes care of public health first of all. Certified organizations and reputable institutes with which we cooperate contribute to this. Sensation for the sake of publicity can cause panic and this is manifoldly damaging and reprehensible, but above all it is not consistent with the effort of a society that has been affected to gather strength and regain as quickly as possible the rhythms with which it was moving before the deadly disaster.

As far as dead animals are concerned, until today at noon we have the following data from ELGA for declared losses of livestock:

– Sheep and goats: 61,786

– Cattle: 5,306

– Pigs: 19,355

– Birds: 123,810

Of course, even today, the difficulty of approaching many organized livestock facilities remains, which creates a problem in the collection and management of dead animals. So we have:

– For sheep and goats, up to the reporting day and time, we have collected and managed 27,436 dead animals

– For pigs, up to the reporting day and time we have collected and managed 10,103 dead animals

– For cattle, up to the reporting day and time we have collected and managed 44 dead animals

– For birds, up to the reporting day and time we have collected and handled 25,400 dead animals

After the activation, just yesterday, of the ELGA communication center for the affected farmers and breeders, the declarations about the damage to crop production quadrupled, and from 300 yesterday at noon, they exceeded 1,250 today, while the declarations about the losses in livestock production exceeded 1,500.

I remind you of the ELGA service center contact numbers: 2410 23 19 38, 2410 23 19 29, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every day.

Despite this, we found delays in the submission of declarations and for the convenience of our producers, I instructed ELGA to cooperate with its correspondents, so that even handwritten declarations can be accepted, as long as the producers state their VAT number and their telephone number. These handwritten declarations will be registered in time by the organization’s services in the information system.

As far as fodder is concerned, until now, with the contribution of the Civil Protection, the Region and the Army, 37 tons of fodder have been allocated to areas where there is no access. The animal feed is transported by Civil Protection and Army helicopters.

Our breeders already know that in this disaster and the difficult conditions that followed, they are not alone. We are on their side and will support them to keep their livestock alive.

With regard to the ongoing co-financed programs of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, I want to assure those interested that the necessary actions will be taken by our services to allow flexibility in the implementation of investment programs of the rural development program that are underway in the affected areas.

The provision will also concern a six-month extension and facilitation of payment requests at any stage of approval investment for the programs of young farmers, improvement plans, the marketing and processing programs of agricultural products and the LEADER programs. Accordingly, there will be the possibility of extension, upon request, in public and land improvement projects in Thessaly and Fthiotida.

Regarding soil management from the effect of flooding phenomena on fields. Already at this time the scientific staff of ELGO-DIMITRA is working in order to have a clear framework for our producers. In the coming days, a list of general instructions will be issued for the fastest restoration of soils, as well as recommendations for the fastest and best opportunity to recover the biological properties of our soils.

Specifically, instructions will be given: first, to avoid soil compaction. Here we focus on the time horizon when all our producers can return to their estates and proceed with restoration or cultivation work.

Secondly, for the management of sediments, plant residues and various materials that have been transferred to the fields. It is noted that transported materials and soils will be channeled with appropriate crews for the restoration of licensed quarries. The list of quarries will be provided directly by the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with Civil Protection and of course the Region of Thessaly.

For the smaller quantities of rubble and building materials, it has been planned to transport them to construction and demolition waste recycling sites that already exist throughout the Region of Thessaly.

The list of these will be provided immediately by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Civil Protection, while the costs for the restoration of the land capital, the collection and removal of the transported materials, soil, mortar and building materials will be covered by the state aid, such as after all, it had also happened in “Ianos”.

The work will be able to start once the soil has drained and dried sufficiently.

Thirdly, for the effect of the phenomena on soil fertility, ELGO-DIMITRA is proceeding from today with soil sampling in order to determine the new levels of fertility and the fertilization strategy to be followed. For this purpose, a map has been drawn up with the 350 mud and soil sediment sampling locations for the preliminary survey to assess the flooding phenomena on the ground.

The sampling locations are determined in two zones along the main bed of the Pinios, as well as in selected locations in the remaining flooded areas.

Finally, I want to thank private individuals, as well as the National Association of Agricultural Cooperatives (ETHEAS), for their offers in animal feed. ETHEAS has already mobilized its members and donated 100 tons and 13 trucks of animal feed. Many private individuals also offer accordingly and we thank them.

In these difficult times for Thessaly and for our country, every offer is important in the effort to quickly return to normality, but also to ensure the continuity of production in the primary sector, in an area that was and will soon be again the heart of our country’s agricultural production.

We, as we told you yesterday, continue to fight from here, from the Thessalian plain, indicating, with the presence of the government and the state and with visits of government officials to affected areas, that we are here, on the side of the farmers us, but also on the side of every citizen who is tested. The sadness and the pain and the despair will manage to turn into power, power of creation for the next day.

Thank you.