The entire emergency state apparatus is on high alert ahead of the onset of the ‘Elias’ adverse weather front, Climate Change & Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias noted in a press briefing on Monday evening.
The Fire Brigade, the Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK), armed forces, the Hellenic Police and the Thessaly Regional Authority are all on high alert, added Kikilias, speaking at the Civil Protection’s coordination center in the city of Larissa, central Greece.
More than 1,600 police officers, 2 army platoons, 70 EMAK personnel and more than 110 earth machine operators are on standby, he added.
Recalling the impact of the recent storm ‘Daniel’ on the region of Thessaly, Kikilias underlined that the regional authority has made tremendous efforts, despite obstacles, “to extend streambeds, operating on bridges, streams and rivers, and in remote, hard-to-reach areas.”
Elaborating some more on the human resources available ahead of Elias in the same briefing, the Fire Brigade’s Chief of Operations Lt. Gen. Thanassis Balafas said that there are 650 fire brigade personnel with 140 fire engines in Thesally. Additionally, there are also boats from 4 special disaster units (EMAK) and from 2 forest operations units (EMODE), as well as 3 Fire Brigade helicopters and 2 Army ones.
Balafas noted that the entire central Greece, Evia, Attica and the Peloponnese are on high alert, but forces in Thessaly are stronger because the region’s infrastructures have suffered severe damages during the recent storm ‘Daniel’, he pointed out.
“We have forces situated at three key intersection points so that we can quickly reach all the villages that had to be evacuated last time,” he added.