On her return from a visit to the region of Thessaly earlier this week, the President of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, sent a letter to the President of the European Commission(opens in a new tab), Ursula von der Leyen, and five Commissioners*, calling for “extraordinary and urgent measures” proportionate to the scale of the impact.
Together with S&D MEP Nikos Papandreou and Pasok Kinal President Nikos Androulakis, Iratxe García travelled on Monday to Metamorfosis, Trikala and the village of Keramidion, which was cut off from emergency services for more than 12 days.
“I personally travelled to the area and met with the affected citizens, their families, farmers, and local authorities, so please allow me to pass on their distress and calls for help,” says García in her letter. “More than 72,000 hectares have been flooded, destroying almost 23% of the farming area of Greece.”
The letter adds: “More than 100,000 animals have been killed (sheep, cows, pigs). As tens of thousands of animals have drowned, the floodwater is now considered toxic, posing a long-term risk to public health. I was particularly shocked to see during my visit, that after nearly two weeks, the authorities have not yet intervened to remove the dead animals, posing a huge long-term health risk to the area by contaminating water resources.”
* The letter was also addressed to Commissioners whose portfolios should be involved in the response: Johannes Hahn, Nicolas Schmit, Elisa Ferreira, Janusz Wojciechowski and Janez Lenarčič.