Greece appoints new minister to handle wildfire aftermath

The office of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced a minor cabinet reshuffle this morning in the aftermath of deadly nationwide wildfires. Mitsotakis has upgraded minister Akis Skertsos to the post of Statewide Minister, co-equal to the current State Minister Yorgos Gerapetritis. Mitsotakis has also tapped deputy agriculture minister Ioannis Economou to serve as government

ATHENS, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday appointed a new minister in charge of recovery from natural disasters in a bid to defuse growing anger over the struggle to curb wildfires that have charred thousands of hectares of forest.

Mitsotakis has this week apologised for delays in the firefighting effort while defending his government's action and authorising a 500-million-euro ($586.95 million) relief package.

Hundreds of houses and businesses have been destroyed and around 65,000 hectares (160,620 acres) of forest destroyed by the conflagrations since the start of August, with relief finally brought by rain on Thursday on Evia, Greece's second-largest island and the scene of some of the worst blazes.

Fire brigade officials told Reuters that forest fires on Evia and in the mainland Western Peloponnese and Northern Attica regions remained under control but that many firefighters had stayed on in the areas to fight possible flare-ups.