Bucharest mayor retorts to criticism on storm alert: If people had died, who would have been to blame?

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Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea on Thursday responded to criticism that she has overreacted regarding the storm in Bucharest, by instituting tough measures such as closing schoolsor traffic jam. Firea said that weather forecast must not be taken shallowly, arguing the information provided by the National Meteorology Administration showed that the code yellow alert could turn in code orange at any time. The mayoress said the Bucharest municipality did its job by the law, to announce the citizens about the enforced measures, while adding that everybody “must respect the state institutions”.

The general mayor must observe the current legislation and when the mayor receives a code yellow warning from ANM that could turn into a code orange one, he or she must respect all procedures, according to the national, European and international standards. We cannot afford taking these weather forecasts shallowly, even if they don’t come true 100%, even if they have certain delays,” Firea explained.

The mayors added that “it’s no tragedy” that the storm’s critical point hadn’t occurred at the initially announced hour, but it would have been much more serious if pupils had been caught by the gusts in the school’s courtyard or on their back home.

She apologized for the traffic jams in Bucharest on Wednesday, but mentioned it’s better to stay in traffic than being caught by storm.

I will always act according to the law and I will not be influenced by certain criticism. I understand that not everybody loves me, but everybody must respect the institutions,” she argued.

Firea also fought off criticism that she had closed schools for a “mere little rain”.

It’s a malicious comment, which is harmful for everybody. It’s a narrow-minded thinking, as the citizens’ life is the most important, and not the marginal opinions and comments,” Firea stated, adding she has a legal responsibility for Bucharesters. “If people had died because the city hall hadn’t informed about the weather conditions, who would have taken the responsibility? Me or the Facebook commentators? I would. I prefer to take the legal actions and find out the storm was not so strong as expected. There are no weather forecast services in the world that could have precisely told when an extreme weather phenomenon is starting. I don’t agree the denigration campaign against ANM,” Firea said.

She conveyed condolences to the family of the man who died in Bucharest on Wednesday after being crushed by a falling tree. She mentioned the city hall ordered the woodcutting at the end of last year, but the owners of the house where the tree was located were in the middle of the action to identify the authorized persons to cut the trees.

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