DiEM25 in Cyprus announcement on the recent wildfires

We express our sorrow and outrage for the recurrent wildfires that have ravaged our island in recent days and have destroyed vast (for Cypriot standards) tracts of land, with incalculable consequences for the flora and fauna of the afflicted areas as well as our ecosystem and that is leading us towards desertification.

The consequences of the climate crisis are here and, fundamentally, nothing is being done to address it. Increasingly severe weather events are being met by a governmental administration that is incapable and reluctant to intervene to prevent their impact. This overt unwillingness and inability is a political choice that perpetuates existing social and class inequality.

Regardless of the systemic propaganda, it is not only the actual perpetrators or the climatic conditions that are responsible for the huge catastrophic fires. There are clear political responsibilities of the current and previous governments that have led to the ongoing crimes against the environment.

The austerity policies of the Neoliberal Right have eroded the capacity to prevent and extinguish wildfires: underfunding/reduction of the firefighting budget, acute personnel shortages (dozens of vacancies in the Fire Service and the Forestry Department), an aging and ever-diminishing fleet of obsolete fire engines and other vehicles, and the (criminal) closure of the Forestry College.

We call for the following measures:

  • support for victims of the fires
  • strengthening of Civil Defence, Forest Management and Fire Protection
  • srohibition of any construction or any activity, such as installation of wind turbines or photovoltaic parks, in the burnt-out areas
  • declare all the affected areas for immediate reforestation
  • effectively tackling the climate crisis
  • halting and reversing the decline and degradation of fire and forestry services

Finally, we express our gratitude to all firefighting teams for their superhuman efforts in adverse conditions.

 

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