Greece tabled a bill in parliament on Wednesday its says will allow authorities to demolish illegally built homes in the broader Athens area in fast track procedures.
Facing severe criticism over its handling of last week's fires in Mati that killed more than 90 people, Greece is blaming severe weather conditions and the large number of illegal buildings in the area that resulted in many roads and paths leading to nowhere and trapping fire victims.
The Environment Ministry says that it has in its posession a list of 2,500 illegally built homes in forest areas around Athens and another 686 homes on beaches without the right permits. A priority will be given to districts seen as posing high fire risks and are located in forest areas, said one government official on Wednesday.
Critics, however, doubt that the left wing government has the political will to demolish these homes, adding that the bill tabled in parliament hands over to the government little power to send out any bulldozers.