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After the fires, fears of flooding

Featured After the fires, fears of flooding

The risk of flooding is now visible with the start of the autumn season, according to Professor Efthymis Lekka, after the devastating megafires that burned hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest in several parts of the country in the previous days.

The areas affected by the fire fronts in Rhodes, Corfu, Magnesia, Mandra, Loutraki and Corinthia are most likely to experience flooding.

The professor of Natural Disaster Management, speaking to "TA NEA", sounds the alarm, noting that the time that passes is precious as, with regard to the issue of preventing and protecting the areas in question from flood risk, it may already be too late.

He proposes the immediate activation of the scientific community to reassess the flood risk and disseminate targeted and implemented solutions in the field, which should then be quickly implemented by the competent local bodies.

From Rhodes, where he visited yesterday for inspection, in the approximately 13,500 hectares of forest that were reduced to ashes, Efthymis Lekkas notes: "In Rhodes there is indeed a risk, both for soil erosion and for landslides and for flooding and for effects on underground and surface water and for desertification. By "desertification" we mean an area that loses its ability to regenerate.

And the danger in Rhodes is manifold because such is its geodynamic framework.

Then, in Magnesia, in the burned areas we have a risk of desertification, soil erosion and small floods. Corfu is also at risk of flooding. And in Mandra, Loutraki, Corinthia, where fires have occurred, there is a risk of flooding and soil erosion."

In his statements on Wednesday morning, against the background of the burned areas in Rhodes, Dr Lekkas stressed: "The exposure of Rhodes to severe weather phenomena is terrible.

What should be done immediately is the reassessment of the flood risk. In the Makari river we had the loss of 5 Austrian tourists in 1993, during the tourist season. I call for it to be done immediately.

Unfortunately, we often get entangled in bureaucracy, which refers to very long periods of time, during which special phenomena can manifest themselves".

"There is chaos"

Having indicated the areas that are assessed, after the fire devastation, as vulnerable to disasters from flood phenomena, the professor answers to "TA NEA" and the key question of who he considers competent to fight the specific battle against time to reassess the flood risk and taking the necessary measures that will result from the reassessment process.

"As for who is in charge, I would say there is chaos. Because the authorities are all over the place and in the end no one takes responsibility. And when they undertake it, they do so through a multitude of bureaucratic procedures.

The Municipalities and Regions could be responsible, but they have no powers, no funds, no personnel, nothing. Universities know very well what is happening.

I think that scientific knowledge is needed, but it should be applied directly in the field, not at the level of theory. It should be very targeted and, above all, implemented", notes Efthymis Lekkas and adds: "The time that passes is precious.

For floods in particular, it may be too late. What can be done is a model like that of the 20 days we ran years ago after the fires in Neapoli Voion, Masticochoria Chios and in 2017 in Kythira".