Residents of Fire Stricken Greek Town Mark Disaster Anniversary (photos)

Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday in the fire stricken Greek town of Mati to honor the 96 victims of the disaster that struck on July 23.

Relatives wept as the names of the victims were read out.

With memories fresh and the scent of ash still present a month later, the crowd wearing white stood in silence holding candles and cell phones.

Despite warnings about the environmental hazard from the dust and toxic substances released by the blaze, many residents have returned to Mati.

Talking to the Athens news Agency, permanent resident Nikos Astithas said he was still waiting for the situation to be fully clarified:

“My house was not completely burnt down but has sustained great damage. We do not know whether we can remain in the area and they have not told us what we must do. The problem with asbestos is quite serious, all traces of asbestos must be removed from the area so that we can stay in our homes.”

According to the infrastructure ministry, contracts for the inspection and removal of asbestos have already been drawn up and the process of removing asbestos from buildings tagged for demolition, where the asbestos has been burnt, has already begun.

It will continue with the removal of asbestos from less severely damaged buildings where the asbestos is still intact and only needs to be stripped away.


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