Greek premier in hot water over snowstorm impact — Analysis

Pure catastrophe caught the nation off guard regardless of related excessive climate situations occurring final yr

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has apologized to his fellow residents after heavy snowfall paralyzed visitors in Athens, leaving 1000’s of motorists trapped on blocked highways.

Talking in the beginning of a cupboard assembly on Wednesday, Mitsotakis admitted that “there have been errors and shortcomings which must be fastened.” Based on the premier, whereas a “Mediterranean nation’s infrastructure is just not at all times tailored to situations of heavy snowfall,” additionally it is true that the “state mechanism is just not but on the level of readiness that phenomena of such nice depth require.

Snowstorm Elpis, which has additionally wreaked havoc in Turkey, made landfall in Greece on Monday night time. A veritable drama performed out on Attiki Odos freeway, which is Athens’ most important ring street. An estimated 4,000 motorists have been left struck there for hours in sub-freezing temperatures. Some finally deserted their automobiles and made their means residence on foot or discovered shelter within the capital’s airport.

Many, together with seniors, nevertheless, didn’t dare enterprise exterior and referred to as in to native radio and TV stations, making impassioned pleas for assist. The Greek authorities needed to deploy the army to evacuate the remaining drivers, a few of whom needed to spend almost 20 hours of their automobiles. 

Related scenes have been additionally seen on different transport arteries in and round Athens.

WATCH: Heavy snowfall causes major disruptions in Greece, Turkey & Iran

On prime of that, the snowstorm led to energy outages, with some 3,000 households nonetheless with out electrical energy on Wednesday, in accordance with stories. 

To cope with the pure catastrophe’s aftermath, authorities introduced a public vacation within the nation’s capital on Tuesday and Wednesday, with faculties closed till Friday. 

And whereas Mitsotakis accepted accountability for the state’s unpreparedness, he concurrently pointed the finger on the non-public operator operating the Attiki Odos freeway.

Nonetheless, with related excessive climate situations occurring final winter, the premier’s critics argue his authorities’s failure to organize was inexcusable. 

The chief of Greece’s left-wing opposition and former prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, described the occasions on Monday as a “present of full chaos for the nation and full and utter torment for its individuals,” charging that “Mr. Mitsotakis, who’s chargeable for this mess, is nowhere to be seen.” Tsipras concluded that the “faster this authorities resigns, the quicker they are going to go away; the higher for this nation.

Media and meteorologists additionally referred to as into query the federal government’s competence.

Talking on Wednesday, Kostas Lagouvardos, the top of the Nationwide Observatory of Athens, insisted his colleagues had warned authorities of the snowstorm prematurely; nevertheless, their forecasts apparently went unheeded. Lagouvardos insisted that “as soon as once more now we have seen the state being reluctant to take heed to the scientists and that’s harmful after we are speaking in regards to the security of individuals and their property.

In what seems to be a damage-control train, the Greek prime minister has introduced that funds of €2,000 can be made to the motorists who discovered themselves trapped on the Attiki Odos freeway on Monday.

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