Question about fires in Zakynthos and Kefalonia, asking preventive and remedial measures, tabled in Parliament to the Minister of Citizen Protection, Rural Development, Interior and Environment MEPs of KKE Karathanasopoulo Nikos , Nikos Papanastasiou and Pafilis Athanasios .
“For another year, our strong concerns, and even before the start of this year’s firefighting season, were reaffirmed that there was a lack of resources and planning for fires in the islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia.
The under-staffing and under financing of the competent bodies, the Forest Service and the Fire Department, which have responsibilities and are involved in forest protection and fire safety in both Prefectures. The accumulated deficiencies they face in infrastructure, tools and reliable mechanical equipment. The complete absence of comprehensive forest protection preparation with preventive and management interventions under the responsibility of the Forest Service, reflected in the lack of firefighting zones, forest roads, a suitable rural network, water tanks, fire brigades, fire extinguishers, fire brigades, two areas contributed to the burning of thousands of acres of forest, arable land and endangered human lives.
Long-standing policies on the basis of EU eligibility policy and cost reduction have exacerbated, inter alia, the working problems of Fire Service personnel. The frequency of alerts, even for precautionary reasons, the shortening of regular permits and daily rests and the lack of adequate personal protective equipment and, more generally, the necessary legal framework for staff safety at the operational level, contribute to creating a precarious environment. and an exhausting working climate with all the implications for the health and safety of firefighters of all levels and classes.
Occupational insecurity is exacerbated by the lack of adequate building infrastructure. A characteristic case is the long-term building problem facing the WP. Lixouri and its unacceptable way of dealing with it. As a result of container housing, it was chosen to rent privately owned premises away from the city’s residential web, with no specifics on the functionality of the service (lack of housing for vehicles) and the dignity of the employees. And co-living on the 1st floor with a family creates many problems with the main ones being security.
Even more difficult is the situation for all services in both areas due to shortages in modern mechanical and logistical equipment. The age of some fire trucks reaches 40 years of continuous operational use. The age of vehicles combined with inappropriate tires, which in some cases remain in vehicles for 10 to 14 years (Lixouri Fire Scale), pose multiple risks to the safety of both staff and citizens.
Even the best layout of modern vehicles, already available by the Fire Department on the grounds of the danger of some areas, cannot interfere with the actual needs of the fire department, while for most stairs there is no properly organized and sheltered parking and maintenance. machinery and fleet. They are deteriorated and destroyed by environmental conditions on a daily basis, while the maintenance, fuel and operating expenses are largely left to private donations and sponsorships, or to other entities.
The result of all the above problems was to burn 7,500 acres in the villages of Agalas and Keri this year in Zakynthos. Specifically, 5,800 acres of bushy vegetation (ie 78% of burnt area), 890 acres of olive trees (ie 12% of burnt area) which are a significant source of income in the area, and the remaining 610 acres (8% of burnt area). of coniferous trees. Similarly, in the area of Lourdata in Kefalonia, which is full of tourist accommodation, the fire literally passed through the courtyards of the houses, where they were evacuated by residents and visitors. We note that staff from other parts of the country have once again been involved in the fire of Zakynthos.
The KKE expresses its strong protest against this situation, which is becoming increasingly repulsive and dangerous under the presence of all these negative factors combined. Points out that the above years end up being the last conscious choice of all governments to date (ND – SYRIZA – PASOK), since, by serving strategic EU-capital plans, they are shrinking state mechanisms and fire protection measures in order to save them state budgets. They operate for the benefit of investment planning business interests and enable private interests, with an NGO-like vehicle, to develop profitable economic activities in this area as well.
It expresses its indignation at the government’s utter indifference to the housing and feeding problems faced by the dozens of firefighters who were displaced, either at “FRAPORT” airports, or to cover other needs and, at the same time, were fired. operational design of the Fire Brigade, which greatly contributed to its weakening. According to the above:
Can the Ministers ask:
1. Will the affected residents of Zakynthos be compensated 100% of the value of the property destroyed by the fire?
2. Will the State Budget’s appropriations to cover the operational needs of the Forest Service and the Fire Department be finally increased in equipment, facilities and infrastructure?
3. Does the Government intend to recruit and staff the Forest Service and the Fire Brigade with the necessary permanent staff of all specialties to address the enormous shortages?
4. How does the government plan to address the needs of firefighters who move to fire areas in order to have decent transportation, accommodation, and food?
5. Does the Government intend to repeal the provisions of Law 4249/2014 that provide for mergers or removals of Fire and Rescue Services? ”