I don’t know if it’s been reported much in North America but this week has seen devastating fires in Greece that have killed 80 people (and counting). Fires have always been a thing in Greece in summer (dry, hot… do the math). But in recent years have dramatically increased in severity and the fires this week have been the worst in this century.
Firemen help real estate developers get rid of pesky forests….
A former Polish ambassador to Greece has been talking in the media that the fires are possibly (probably) set by real estate developers. Forested lands are protected from development but if the forest disappears on year… then new houses are built the next. He describes a web of economic interests that will literally burn down the country to keep their business model running. I’ve heard rumors of things like that in Greece and Italy both for years, but haven’t heard politicians going on record with it.
I’ve only seen one reference to the idea that the ongoing austerity (10 years and counting) have hampered the country’s ability to respond to natural disasters. The fact that Greece probably has the worst political culture in the EU doesn’t help either, while employees in the Parliament rushed to donate blood, only a single MP chose to donate. Greek politicians are about sucking blood, not donating it.