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11 August, 1998
The government yesterday presented a first package of measures for damages caused by recent devastating forest fires throughout Greece.
The measures, worth about 20 billion drachmas, include a payment of 200,000 drachmas to each residence's owner and compensation of up to two million drachmas for damages to household goods as well as 15-year, interest-free loans for home purchasing.
The meeting was chaired by Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and attended by Environment and Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis, Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis, National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas, as well as Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas.
Mr. Papadopoulos said that owners of unregistered or illegally built residences will not receive compensation or loans, while Mr. Laliotis said the state will not allow any construction activity on burned land.
On his part, Public Order Minister Giorgos Romeos said yesterday that the arsonists behind the latest spate of forest fires around Greece were individuals that knew "where and when" to act.
The minister's statements were published in the Athens daily "TA NEA".
In a related development, a survey conducted by the same newspaper claimed that 82 per cent of individuals questioned supported the eradication of illegal constructions from forest areas, while 99 per cent supported stricter penalties for arsonists and those who benefit from their actions.
Source: Athens News Agency