A moratorium on Greece's debt and interest payments until it recovers from the fires
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The people of Greece are going through an unbearable nightmare. The wildfires in Rafina to the north east of Athens have claimed 80 lives and the number will rise. Over 1,500 homes have been destroyed.
The country is grieving. Such a disaster would challenge emergency and medical services anywhere. But years of austerity have left the public services incapable of the necessary response. The fire service budget has been twice decimated these last nine years.
Sympathy is pouring in from around the world. The governments of Europe, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund have it in their power to match warm words with action that can save lives.
The emergency and public services in Greece are being devastated to meet interest and debt repayments on loans that no one who has lost their homes or family members in Rafina ever took out.
The European governments and international bodies should declare a moratorium on debt and interest repayments by Greece at least until the victims of the Rafina disaster are properly cared for and rehoused, and the Greek fire and rescue services restored to a level where future tragedies may realistically be averted.
Greece is not in the middle of the forest fire season. It is only at the very start of it in what threatens to be a long, hot, dry and dangerous summer.
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