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Ministry announces measures to support fire-stricken region of Evros

The Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection announced on Wednesday a set of measures designed to help the people and regions devastated by the ongoing wildfires in Evros, northeastern Greece.

These measures encompass a wide range of support mechanisms to help both individuals and businesses that have been affected by the deadly blaze. Here is an overview of the 13 measures that have been announced:

1) Initial assistance for housing support:
In the coming days, the affected areas will be listed on the platform. This platform will enable citizens and businesses affected by the fires to apply for initial assistance to support housing. The assistance will be provided for buildings damaged by the fire that are categorized as either “dangerous for use” (red) or “temporarily unsuitable for use” (yellow) by the relevant authorities. The amount of initial assistance will be either €10,000 or €5,000, depending on the classification.

2) Housing assistance for restoration of buildings:
Once the assessments by the authorities are completed, the damaged areas will be identified, and housing assistance will be provided for the repair and reconstruction of buildings. This housing assistance includes a combination of grands (80%) and an interest-free loan (20%), backed by the state. This support is available to building owners with a maximum size of 150 square meters, intended for their restoration.

3) Rent subsidy or co-habitation support:
Following the delineation of affected areas, a rent subsidy or co-habitation support will be provided to cover temporary housing expenses for permanent residents whose homes were impacted by the wildfires. The subsidy ranges from €300 to €500, depending on specific parameters.

4) An advance payment ahead of the full calculation of the compensation due:
Through the platform, initial assistance is offered to affected businesses and non-profit entities to address damages. The amount varies based on the extent of damage, ranging from €2,000 for moderate damage to €4,000 for extensive damage to their assets.

5) State aid for affected businesses and agricultural enterprises:
Following the initial assistance, the final amount of state aid will be granted to affected businesses. This aid covers 70% of the estimated damage to the assets of the enterprise, as determined by state aid committees. Agricultural enterprises are also included in this framework.

6) Compensation for household immediate needs and household goods:
Monetary compensation will be provided to households affected by the wildfires, in collaboration with local municipalities. Compensation includes economic support for immediate needs (€600), repair or replacement of household goods (up to €6,000), and financial aid for individuals with disabilities resulting from the disaster.

7) Suspension of tax obligations:
In the areas of the Evros regional unit affected by the fires and declared in a state of emergency, the payment of outstanding and certified tax obligations will be suspended for six months for both businesses and individuals.

8) Suspension of compulsory enforcement measures:
Suspension of all compulsory enforcement actions against the movable or immovable property of those affected by the fires can be provided for a six-month period.

9) Three-year ENFIA tax exemption:
Buildings and corresponding plots located in emergency-declared areas that have been classified as dangerous or temporarily unsuitable for use, as well as destroyed agricultural plots, may be exempted from the ENFIA tax for a three-year period.

10) Adjustment and suspension of social security contributions:
Businesses within the defined fire-affected areas have the option to undergo a process of adjustment and suspension of social security contributions for six months.

11) Suspension of employment contracts:
A special employment support scheme is activated for businesses impacted by the fires. It allows for the suspension of employment contracts and the provision of a corresponding allowance of €534 for affected employees over a three-month period.

12) Emergency funding for OTAs:
In collaboration with local government organizations (OTA), an emergency funding scheme will be initiated to cover damages to networks and infrastructure where needed.

13) Expansion of social tourism program:
The 2023 Social Tourism Program by the Public Employment Service (DYPA) is extended to Evros, providing 12 free overnight stays in local accommodations for eligible beneficiaries until June 30, 2024.