Property speculators profit from fire disaster in Greece


This video is called Memorial for Greek fire Tragedy.

From British daily The Independent:

Outrage in Greece over secret plan to develop land in region ravaged by fires

By Elinda Labropoulou in Athens

Published: 19 September 2007

The Greek government is facing a major embarrassment within days of its re-election after it gave property developers the green light to build on an environmentally sensitive area next to forests ravaged by this summer’s deadly fires.

Documents leaked to the Greek press show the finance ministry pushed through an agreement allowing building activity to begin in a protected area in the Southern Peloponnese, the region hardest hit by last month’s blazes that killed 67 people and destroyed nearly half a million acres of forest and farmland.

Under heavy criticism for their handling of the inferno, the ruling conservatives blamed the inferno on unscrupulous property developers looking to exploit protected areas. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis vowed to avoid past mistakes where building permits were handed out in fire-affected areas and land was rezoned for construction.

The agreement, revealed this week, covers a valuable coastal zone in Zaharo, the area that accounted for nearly half of the deaths during last month’s “national emergency”.

The zone includes a rare pine forest, thermal springs, and a nesting area for the endangered loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta. Environmental groups say the agreement could come at a huge cost for the area’s sensitive ecosystem. The district is protected by the European Union’s Natura 2000 scheme, designed to safeguard the most seriously threatened habitats and species.

WikiLeaks cables: Political background to Greece’s forest fire crisis: here.

Greek elections: here. And here.

Forest fires in Lebanon: here.

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