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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>


  • [01] Reconstruction effort after fires has national scope, PM stresses

  • [01] Reconstruction effort after fires has national scope, PM stresses

    The work for healing the wounds inflicted by Augustās wildfires has only just begun, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed in statements on Monday. He also underlined that the reconstruction effort was a plan with national scope in that it would require a union of the country's forces. The prime minister was speaking just after chairing a meeting on measures for fire-stricken regions at the headquarters of Arcadia prefecture in Tripolis, in the central Peloponnese.

    "The obligation of the state does not stop at the immediate measures that we took and are carrying out for the relief of our fire-stricken citizens and areas," Karamanlis said, noting that much work needed to be done in order to restore the damage inflicted by the fires and create a "faster and more efficient state?.

    He expressed his conviction that local governments, societies and ordinary citizens would rally together to support and help in the battle to "build a better tomorrow for all".

    "Many positive messages emerged through the trial we have undergone. Messages of heroism and self-sacrifice from those who battled the flames, messages of solidarity and humanity from those that contributed to the common effort. Messages of a new patriotism. We have an obligation to highlight these messages and upon them, all Greeks united to build our course from now on," the prime minister underlined.

    He said this course should ensure growth that was both robust and friendly toward the environment, while adding that Europe remained at Greece's side during this difficult hour and that the government would do everything in its power to ensure the greatest possible contribution of the EU to national reconstruction.

    According to Karamanlis, continuing the measures announced by the government at the same rate was the top priority and he said it as a "national necessity" that the people living in the Greek countryside should remain there and continue to work in the primary sector as farmers.

    The prime minister also promised full compensation for both crops and livestock losses and guaranteed income for farmers for as long as it took for agricultural land to once again become productive, support in replacing equipment and facilities, rapid replacement of livestock and ensuring the necessary quantities of animal feed were available, since grazing in the recovering forest would not be possible.

    In addition, the prime minister noted that reforestation in areas where it could not occur naturally would be carried out on the basis of specialist studies.

    The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Vangelis Meimarakis, Deputy Minister of Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Alexandros Kontos, local MPs, head of Civil Protection Panagiotis Fourlas and local officials. Also present were the Peloponnese region general secretary, the prefect of Arcadia and mayors of fire-ravaged regions.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Alexandros Kontos announced that a plan is being drawn up for the complete rebuilding of the afflicted areas, after a meeting he chaired earlier at the Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA) offices in Tripolis.

    A committee was formed with the participation of local government, trade unionist and cooperative movement officials to ensure that the distribution of livestock and animal feed donated by farmers from across Greece to the fire-ravaged regions will reach the people most in need, he said.

    The deputy minister stated that the committee in question will also assist in the efforts to support stockbreeding in the regions destroyed by the fires, adding that the number of animals lost in the blaze has not been determined yet, pointing out, however, that local animal breeders are already receiving compensation via speedy procedures.

    In addition, many farmers from different parts of the country have offered to donate young olive tree saplings to the region to regenerate the fire-ravaged olive groves of the Peloponnese.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of PM Costas Karamanlis.

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