Panagi Kappatou (Kefalonia MP) Speech at the Plenary Session for the Ministry of Finance, entitled “Urgent arrangements for dealing with the catastrophic consequences of the Mediterranean cyclone Ianos

Mister President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Due to the issue of the bill, I will take a position on certain issues that concern in particular  Kefalonia and Ithaca .

I am sorry that the leader of the official opposition, Mr. Tsipras, did not find space in his speech to make even a reference to Kefalonia and Ithaca, which may be a smaller place but he also has big problems.

Discussing last week’s weather, the biggest success in Kefalonia and Ithaca, was that there was adequate preparation and information for the bad weather. The result was that the majority of citizens were disciplined and so we  did not mourn the victims . With all its timeless weaknesses, the Greek State operated from the first moment and today stands by the people who face difficulties due to bad weather.

The government has directly funded local government agencies for emergencies and is constantly assessing the situation.

I thank the Deputy Minister Mr.  Hardalias  for his immediate intervention, the  Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance,  the  Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport  and the whole  government  because they stand by Kefalonia and Ithaca both at the legislative level and with the financing of emergencies. The  armed forces are in Kefalonia from the first moment and they are literally digging up the settlement of Assos.

The support measures provided by the bill are very important.

The main forecasts concern:

  • Provision of financial aid.
  • Tax-free and unseized of aid.
  • Suspension of enforcement measures.
  • Measures to protect jobs and support the unemployed.

However, ladies and gentlemen, there is a negative precedent in Kefalonia, quite recent. That is why citizens are quite skeptical when they hear about support measures and compensation.

I am referring to the  earthquake of 2014  in Kefalonia. I typically tell you that the compensation from the 2014 earthquake has not been given to anyone!  And 4.5 whole years of your rule have passed, colleagues of the official opposition. The same has happened in areas of Kefalonia that have been hit by floods in recent years.

There are three points that the state should look at carefully:

First : In some cases the compensations provided  do not cover the needs . For the primary sector and tourism for example, more financial support needs to be targeted. Compensation procedures must be done quickly and in a way that does not bother citizens any more.

Second : It is crucial to support local authorities with  staff for their technical services  , so that they can complete the procedures for the restoration of infrastructure without delays.

Third : To give extensions to important procedures with which many citizens these days could not complete. I specifically mention:

The Extension of the deadline for the  inclusion of arbitrary , the Extension of the deadline for the  registration of undeclared square meters  by the Municipalities and the Extension of the possibility of  issuing building permits of  category 1 and 2.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ministers. The most important thing is for the Greek state to finally see with real interest critical issues that date back to Kefalonia and Ithaca.

Emergency measures are important, but the main problems of our islands cannot be addressed through emergencies.

Kefalonia and Ithaca are islands that face timeless problems from the whole range of natural disasters. From earthquakes, floods, fires and landslides.

In terms of health, for example, it is not possible for ladies and gentlemen ministers in big cities of Mainland Greece, such as in Kalamata, for the hospitals to be characterized as “barren” and for the hospital of Kefalonia to not be able to find a procedure for doctors to come. most basic specialties. The hospital of Kefalonia and the Health Center of Ithaca must be declared “barren”. What else must happen, ladies and gentlemen, in order to be declared “barren” ???

It is not possible for a donation of tens of millions of euros for 10 years for the operation of an intensive care unit in Kefalonia, for the Greek state to have signed for its operation and for the Ministry of Health not to have carried out the necessary procedures.

For decades, the Ministry of Environment and Energy has not been inactive in regulating the  ownership status of forest areas in the Ionian Islands .

A case for which we try to convince the leadership of the Ministries for things that have been judged by irrevocable decisions of the Supreme Court and the Council of State and are a brake on the development of the Ionian islands.

And one last thing about the things the government needs to take seriously. In Kefalonia these days we had houses, businesses, entire settlements without water and electricity for a week. Even today in some parts of Kefalonia.

If this had happened in an area of ​​the Basin, today we would discuss it extraordinarily in Parliament. The technicians and services work day and night and we thank them. However something needs to be done with networks, such as undergrounding where possible.

Before concluding, Mr. President, on behalf of the citizens of Kefalonia and Ithaca, I would like to thank all those who stood by us during these difficult days.

The  local government , the  armed forces , their  eterodimotes  us, the  services of the Greek state , the fire brigade, the police, the port and all the security forces.

All those who sent aid to our islands from other parts of Greece, Cyprus and abroad. We thank them all .

The most optimistic for our society, through this catastrophe, is the  great wave of volunteerism and solidarity  that we live these days in Kefalonia and Ithaca. Volunteer groups  and  ordinary citizens work day and night. They saved lives. Ladies and gentlemen, as the Greek Parliament, we must honor them.


Greek speakers can watch the video here

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