After the enormous disasters caused by the floods in Thessaly, from which not even Volos has yet “recovered”, let alone the villages of the Thessalian plain, but also in other areas of our country, here in the Peloponnese Region, as is to be expected , citizens are even more concerned about whether their lives and property are adequately protected.
In order to deal with problems, they must first be recorded. And there must be information regarding which projects are being carried out, which have been tendered, which projects are on paper, even which studies exist, especially since the tragic events of the previous months have brought to light the climate crisis risk management plans, which have prepared since 2018, but it is “incomplete” and no one knows if everything that was decided is being implemented…
The position of Mr. Nikos Godikas was also of interest, who spoke specifically about the grandiose project of the stream of Agios Athanasios in Tripoli, for which he estimated that tens of millions of euros would have to be expropriated in the city in order to be carried out.
Even more interesting is the fact that when there is talk of anti-flooding projects, they concern stream cleanings while, despite the fact that, as Mr. Giorgos Dedes pointed out, from 2018 the responsibility belongs to the regions, there is no money.
But let’s take things from the beginning.
The flood protection projects were discussed at the meeting of the Peloponnese Regional Council on Wednesday 1 November in the afternoon. In the discussion, the directors of Technical Projects per Regional Unit and Mr. Moutafidis, head of the Directorate of Technical Projects of the Peloponnese Region, informed the House – for the PE of Arcadia, Mr. Panouklias spoke. Mrs. Dina Nikolakou, taking the floor, after addressing the issue by the president, requested that the flood control of Kalamata be discussed as a separate unit. Mr. Maltezos, president of PeSy, said that obviously it should be discussed.
The subject’s rapporteur, Thanasis Petrakos, referred to the multidimensional consequences of natural disasters for which answers are sought, and underlined that the local government must assume its responsibilities. “Since 2018, the country has had climate crisis risk management plans with detailed descriptions of all sectors related to the problems and for the Peloponnese Region, and it is time to implement these plans and see the measures they include. They require a broader consensus and agreement to be implemented.”
Subsequently, Mr. Petrakos asked for information on specific things:
Where is the implementation of the plans
Which of these projects have been completed?
What projects have started?
What is the schedule
If those that have started, have secured resources and from where
If they don’t have, what resources do they need and to commit that these resources must be claimed.
Regardless of these, there is the issue of what can be done with urgent procedures, because we have winter, to immediately finance the repair and construction work of the dams, to make hydraulic studies of the streams, to settle them, to see how they will open, if they are boxed .
“Today science can predict risks with precision. The PE of Peloponnese and the Board of Kalamata for a year now, we rejected the EIA submitted by Moreas through the ministry, or the ministry through Moreas, and we said that we are not interested in the anti-flooding of the highway, let’s do it when we had to. We are interested in the anti-flood protection of Kalamata and what the study says is not anti-flood protection of the city, but of the road, so that the state does not pay compensation to Morea if the road is flooded. The ministry, acting like a crook, as with the farmers’ subsidies, waited for the elections to end, for the disobedients to leave, as Nikas also says, and then, on October 20th, it shows the approval and writes the negative opinions on its old shoes and approves 80 million euros for the molecule. I address the colleagues who will be here, who will be in the majority, and who voted against the environmental impact study, and I say that I hope that everyone will respect their vote and their personality.”
Afterwards, Mr. Moutafidis, from the Technical Projects Directorate, took the floor, in order to inform the House about the studies and projects being implemented. He referred to the study concerning the Arcadian field, which began in 2018, was essentially completed two months ago and was given an extension, until March 2024. If completed, it will be a study of 2-3 million euros and credits currently do not exist, as he said.
Mrs. Nikolakou asked about the stage at which the studies are in our region and which projects are being implemented and will be implemented and how the ministry, the Directorates of Technical Projects, Civil Protection are involved, saying that we need to clarify what the money is mentioned in the plans, where there is no study on them, and a decade goes by and nothing is done. “Does the Technical Works department have jurisdiction depending on the money available? There is money in Civil Protection that was used for technical projects and not for civil protection projects. Has this transfer been done?” he asked.
Mr. Mutafidis replied that if a project to clean a river is carried out because it has flooded, the Civil Protection intervenes to repair the damage before the damage worsens.
Mrs. Bouza asked, because winter has arrived, and the citizens do not care who is in charge, to what extent the Peloponnese is protected from extreme phenomena. “Many recipients have not even been cleared and there is intense anxiety,” he pointed out.
Mr. Mutafidis replied: “Apart from Corinthia where three projects were tendered and the projects were not contracted, projects are being carried out in all the other PEs”.
Mr. Nikos Gondikas described Mr. Moutafidis as revelatory, saying that two projects are anti-flooding in the region.”
Alas and woe if flood protection is limited to stream cleaning! Anyone who believes this should go home! Two projects are taking place in Arcadia.
“Flood defense studies and projects, is there anything? Firebreaks, forestry, demarcations of rivers, streams, streams, we say about Agios Thanasis, it is a river that reaches the Camp, and then it is blind. To open, means tens of millions of expropriations inside Tripoli. Are there any such projects underway? Have the studies been classified, have they been entered in any book, or have we given millions to flood prevention studies in the Peloponnese and they “walk” from office to office?”
Mr. Dedes pointed out that with “Kleisthenis” all the projects are arranged by the Region. “Now, all the anti-floods, wherever they are, belong to the competence of the regional self-government. We do everything, except for those designated as nationally important and special purpose projects handled by the ministry. Have you developed a flood management plan since 2018? Were you asked to do so?’
Mrs. Nikolakou asked directly: “You know how expensive flood protection is. Well, the responsibility has come to us. Resources came, Money came? I think you all realize that we are at ground zero.”
Mr. Hatzis said that anti-flood projects are being implemented in Arcadia and interventions are being made in the watersheds. In Falesia, Megalopolis and Gortynia, a series of river cleanings have been carried out to protect the areas from flooding.
Mr. Panouklias said: “Two observations, large anti-flood projects are interventions from headquarters, the two anti-flood projects that Mr. Moutafidis said, we do not have such large projects. For small-scale projects, at the moment, we do not have mature studies concerning Arcadia: The action is for temporary anti-flood interventions, we are looking to see if we can clean, support slopes, check technical works that need to be replaced or to grow or to maintain. We have intervened in areas where the fire created major problems for us. Arrangements of torrents on the road Tripoli – Pyrgos, the two big rivers that flow through Gortynia, Ladonas and Alfeios, have problems that need a lot of money to deal with. We don’t need to go into details, but I can tell you, because I have the list of projects as a PE of Arcadia, but mainly this process is not in the study of big projects, but in the intervention to restore or not create problems in settlements and crops in the rivers that run through Arcadia. From 2020 onwards, we have executed or are in progress 13 projects, purely of cleanings, with a budget of 4 million euros. For the cleaning, project machinery has been leased to private individuals and so far the amount is around 600,000 euros.
Mr. Triantafyllos Sotiropoulos said that precious time has been lost, that we are waiting for the fatal, that we characterize the cleaning of the streams as anti-flood works and that a clear order must be given for the staff to do the mapping and decide which are the absolutely necessary anti-flood works.
Mrs. Jenny Dimitrakopoulou asked if the risk management plan that concerns our Region has been reviewed, because after five years it needs a review, and she also asked if after the fires there should be actions for anti-flood shielding. Given that 2019 has changed the entire legal framework around flood defenses, have you undertaken a five-year or ten-year strategic plan? We have heard small amounts and small projects and you have added up amounts related to the opening of streams and not major flood protection.
Mr. Manolis Skandzos, responding, said that it is wishful thinking to talk about large flood defenses and that money is needed for them. There must be a political agreement, he said. “With the corona virus, the Region gave several millions, 44 million euros, which means that this money was cut from somewhere else. To know and to realize that the needs of society do not stop. There is no money in the state. We have to agree and say where we will cut this money. In Arcadia, we went to Neochori because it had flooded ten times. There we go where flood phenomena have been observed statistically. We must protect citizens’ property, but we must first protect lives. There is a study on the Camp (in Tripoli) because lives will be at risk there. We know the priorities, we have to go there, but money is a prerequisite. And we have to cut them from somewhere. Don’t speak empty words.”
Therefore, the responsibility belongs to the Region, but money is not given by the state, while despite the fact that everything possible is done, the interventions are very limited to the absolutely necessary.