The proposals of PASOK-KINAL for the prevention and management of natural disasters were presented from Alexandroupolis, where Nikos Androulakis is todaywhile members of the party visit the villages of Thrace that have been destroyed by the summer fire.

Mr. Androulakis developed the five axes for the prevention and management of natural disasters by opening the dialogue with the participation of scientists, 3.5 months after the catastrophic fire in the Dadia Forest. “A modern state cannot follow nature fatalistically” he underlined, while criticizing the government for amateurishness and sloppiness.

Speaking at the theme event “Prevention, management and response to disasters in the natural environment” Nikos Androulakis emphasized: “Since the tragedy of Ilia in 2007, 16 years have passed and we are repeating the same things over and over again. But in more unfavorable conditions. Do we as a political system want to police society? To educate society? To modernize the state? Or will we hear constantly and in a manner contemptuous of everyone’s intelligence that “my shift went wrong”? I am also informing them here, from Alexandroupolis, that with the development of this great challenge of the planet, climate change, we will have many “mistakes in everyone’s shifts”, that is why we must get serious, be objective and have a plan to we defend society and the state, every citizen, the farmer, the farmer who cries for his living, the young children who want to live in a country that will be a normal European state, rational, that solves problems and does not perpetuate them ” noted Mr. Androulakis, adding this year’s negative report.

“In Greece this year, more than 1.7 million acres were burned. We are in the second worst position in terms of average area burned in the period 2006-2022, and in the first place for 2023 in burned areas as a percentage of the country’s area,” he said.

“This is the result of unsuccessful strategy and an ineffective plan. The government seems not to have learned from the tragedy in Ilia in 2007 and the experience of the disaster was not utilized. There is no data to design the armor. Everything is handled with amateurishness and sloppiness. They brought from Brussels the commissioner responsible for such matters in order to build the autonomous ministry and the next minister of New Democracy reveals that the ministry is an empty shell. Who is to blame? You have been in government for five years,” pointed out Mr. Androulakis.

The President of PASOK-Movement for Change underlined how “As long as we don’t invest in preparation and prevention, the recovery costs will be many times higher. For example, it’s one thing to pay for a road that’s designed to withstand extreme climates, and another to pay for a road that collapses due to extreme weather and then pay for it again.”
“We can’t just talk about the country being outgunned in firefighting equipment and means – yes, we were outgunned this year, to be fair – but not explain how it is possible with the greatest firepower in years, to have worst possible outcome? I asked Mr. Mitsotakis in the Parliament. No reply. Shouldn’t a committee have assessed what he did wrong? Where for the first time we had so many air and ground means, but at the same time – with fewer outbreaks – the greatest destruction?” asked Mr. Androulakis.

“The countryside must become the prosperous region, in which you want to live” Mr. Androulakis defined as the central stake.

The president of PASOK-Movement for Change proposed a change in the prevention model, with immediate actions:

  1. The prioritization of high-risk areas.
  2. The prioritization of areas and ecosystems of high value – uniqueness.
  3. The adoption of a tripartite for the management of the country’s forests and ecosystems with resilience, adaptation and transformation strategies.

In addition, he proposed the following changes to the coping model, with main features:

  • Participation of the Forestry Service with a staff role in extinguishing the fires.
  • Institutionalized and systematic utilization and transmission of the knowledge of the old Forestry Service executives, with experience in extinguishing fires.
  • Activation and staffing of firewalls – modernization (use of sensors, drones, information systems).
  • Creation of a unified geo-information system with the entire rural and forest road network and its passability status.

Regarding the recovery model:

  • The protection and restoration of the burned areas must be done based on the climatic conditions that will prevail after decades and not only today.
  • Planning based on safe climate change forecasts, by region and type of ecosystem in the country.
  • Synergies with Common Agricultural Policy actions to improve riparian zones and flood protection.
  • The recognition in advance of areas that will need immediate restoration after the occurrence of a fire (e.g. fir forests, areas burned twice).
  • Planning the production of planting material, based on the safe predictions of climate changes and the characteristics of the areas that will need immediate restoration after a possible fire.

Mr. Androulakis insisted on the institutionalization of a national action plan for the resilience of the environment. With actions in five axes:

  1. Increase the funds so that from the ratio of 20%-80% that is currently for prevention and repression, it approaches 50%-50% without reducing repression.
  2. New model of the Forestry Service, with a substantial increase in resources and personnel, so that it can fulfill its statutory duties in a modern way.
  3. Synergies between co-competent natural and rural landscape management bodies based on an effective governance system.
  4. Establishment of a body to monitor and support the restoration and recovery of the socio-economic environment. The aim will not simply be the formal obligation to compensate the affected, but their essential support for the development of economic and social activity in conditions of climate and generalized environmental crisis.
  5. Creation of a Forest Ecosystem Management and Resilience System, where through a single managed fund will be supported and implemented:
  • The research, which will involve Universities, Research Institutes, Chambers, Forest Service, O.FY.PE.K.A.
  • The prevention, which will be coordinated by the Forest Service, in cooperation with the Fire Brigade, the O.FY.PE.K.A. for protected areas, OTAs and volunteer networks. In this context, the seasonal firefighters can also help, who in the summer are in the forest, but in the winter, instead of making use of their experience, they remain unemployed.
  • The repression, which will be coordinated and carried out by the Fire Brigade, in collaboration with the Forestry Service, the local authorities and volunteer networks.
  • The restoration, which will be planned and implemented by the Forest Service (for forests and forest lands), in collaboration with the local authorities,
  • the O.FY.PE.K.A. (for protected areas) and volunteer networks.