Tuesday 6 December 2016

Greece running out of food as vote looms

Caroline Crawford in Athens

Published 04/07/2015 | 02:30

A pensioner is helped by a bank manager after collapsing while waiting outside a National Bank in Athens along with dozens of other pensioners to withdraw money. Photo: Reuters
A pensioner is helped by a bank manager after collapsing while waiting outside a National Bank in Athens along with dozens of other pensioners to withdraw money. Photo: Reuters

Locals and holidaymakers alike in Greece will be unable to buy food or medicine within days if a deal is not reached to reopen the banks, business leaders have warned.

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Ahead of a referendum on Greece's acceptance of a new bailout and future in the euro, Athens Chamber of Commerce president Constantine Michalos said there could be "shortages on the shelves" by early next week and tourists could be left without "basics".

Mr Michalos warned that shops will begin to close on Friday and not reopen because they are unable to import products due to the bank closures.

But the Greek government claims that it has stockpiled enough reserves of fuel and pharmaceutical supplies to enable it to withstand a long siege, and has set aside emergency funding to cover all the country's vital food imports.

The country's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said that the left-wing Syriza government is still working on the assumption the EU will return to the negotiating table if the Greek people don't agree to their austerity demands in tomorrow's referendum.

"Luckily we have six months' stocks of oil and four months' stocks of pharmaceuticals," he said.

Irish Independent

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