Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis argued on Friday that environmentalists should bear part of the blame for the flash floods on Rhodes this week, which led to three people drowning and caused millions of euros’ worth of damage.
In response to comments in Parliament regarding the practice of building on riverbeds and blocking natural outlets for floodwaters, Michelakis said that environmentalists had also contributed to the problem by opposing the cutting down of reeds in riverbeds.
He said the reeds contributed to the debris that cluttered the riverbeds.
“I have to tell you that whenever local authorities tried to cut down the reeds, they faced problems from environmental organizations because they believe doing so creates an ecological problem,” he said.
“So when there is heavy rainfall, earth, rubble and reeds block the outlets for water and cause this destruction.”