31 August, 2007
Greece's alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros was interviewed about the hugely destructive fires that have swept the country since last Friday by the USA Radio Network, which runs 1,100 local radio stations in the United States.
Antonaros stressed the great upheaval, sadness, grief and anger felt by all Greeks at this time, many of whom had lost loved ones, homes and property, while areas they had known or visited had been utterly devastated.
The spokesman reported that the situation in the country was now improved after fires of unprecedented intensity had raged for nearly a week. He also reiterated the assessment made by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the government that the break out of so many fires simultaneously could not be coincidence, noting that an investigation into the matter was underway.
He referred to the emergency relief measures being taken by the government to temporarily house fire victims in hotels and the 3,000 euros benefit being handed out to fire victims to help them cover their immediate basic needs.
Antonaros also thanked the countries that had come forward to express their support for the Greek people and informed listeners about the open phone line being operated by the Greek foreign ministry to inform Greeks currently abroad about the fate of their families in Greece.
Asked whether Greece could afford the emergency relief being handed out to fire victims and whether the Greek economy was able to carry this burden, Antonaros noted that Greece was a full member of the European Union that had stabilised its economy in recent years and now had funds coming from developing sectors like tourism.
"With the help of our partners in the EU we will be able to overcome the difficulties," he concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency