The passing of the huge storm code-named Ballos already on its very first day left behind widespread destruction.

Yet, it left us with images that we will long remember. Students had to walk over a bridge of school desks to evacuate the building. Teachers took young children in their arms because the classroom was flooded. Half of a bus was submerged in an underpass.

The images that we all saw in amateur videos or television newscasts do not do honour to state services. The civil protection ministry may have sent SMS messages to inform citizens of a ban on the movement of cars on Kifissos Avenue and on seaside Poseidonos Avenue, yet the lesson for the state as a whole from yesterday’s destruction is that prevention is our most important defence against the extreme weather conditions triggered by the climate crisis.

Prevention does not mean only the readiness of the Fire Service or of the Army. It involves the small things that must be done daily at every administrative level of the state. The cleaning of gutters around public schools and of storm drains on major avenues and small streets is not less important than anti-flooding works in areas where there are forestlands destroyed by fires.

Municipalities and regions have a duty to prepare for possible problems that may arise from such an intense weather front.

The state must not only organise the response and check in advance all those involved so as to meet its fundamental obligation – protecting the lives and property of citizens.

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