Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the system for managing emergencies has closed its cycle and that “a restructuring is necessary to confront new challenges”.

The upgraded structure will have a unified emergency management bureau that will adjust to the conditions in Greece the most contemporary elements of management models followed in Europe and the US.

“Today’s General Secretariat of Civil Protection will be abolished, and will be replaced by the National Service of Emergency Management, which will be a distinct public bureau that will be overseen by the interior ministry,” Tsipras said.

The service, he said, will be headed by a director that will be a person with acknowledged experience, capabilities and competence.

Tsipras said that the appointment of the director will be decided with transparency and meritocracy. It will be organised under the supervision of an independent committee of experts, and will be ratified by the Conference of Parliament Presidents, which includes representatives of all parties.

The director will work with a permanent and perpetual Scientific Council, comprised of representatives of all research foundations and structures of the country whose work is linked to natural disasters.

These include the Demokritos Research Centre, the National Meteorolgical Service, the national Observatory, the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, the Hellenic Space Agency, the Greek Atomic Energy Commission, as well as university institutes and polytechnics.

The director will be flanked by a permanent Management Staff, comprised of representatives of the Fire Service, the EKAB ambulance and rescue service, the Hellenic Red Cross, Greek Police, the Coast Guard, volunteer services, the Army, Navy, and Air Force Staffs, the Forest Service, the  technical bureaus of the infrastructure ministry, and the country’s basic research foundations.

The government has already secured complete funding for the radical reorganisation and upgrade of the country’s ability to shield itself from natural disasters.

Earmarked funds, which are expected to reach 500mn euros, will come from the European Investment Bank, the EU’s National Strategic Reference Framework, and the National Public Investment programme.