August 6, 2018 / 10:04 AM / 4 months ago

Greek civil protection chief resigns over deadly wildfire

FILE PHOTO: A man looks at the flames as a wildfire burns in the town of Rafina, near Athens, Greece, July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - The head of Greece’s civil protection department resigned on Monday, a day after the government replaced the chiefs of its police force and fire brigade after a public outcry over a wildfire that killed more than 90 people on July 23.

Yannis Kapakis, 60, the secretary general of the civil protection department (GSCP), submitted his resignation to Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, a ministry official said.

Kapakis had previously served in the fire service, retiring in 2013 with the rank of brigadier general.

The GSCP’s mission is to design and plan actions related to the risk assessment, prevention and responses to natural disasters and emergencies. It also coordinates rehabilitation operations and informs the public on these issues.

On Sunday, the heads of both emergency services were replaced with their deputies, a statement from the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.

It made no direct mention of last month’s blaze, which tore through Mati, a small town east of Athens.

Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas resigned on Friday in the face of strong criticism of the government’s handling of the wildfire.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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