Disaster turns to tragedy as justice drags feet

VICTIMS of the great Costa del Sol fire, the most devastating in Malaga Province in more than two decades, continue to despair as a long, dragged out legal process means they may have to wait another five years for compensation.
On the fated afternoon of August 30, 2012, devastation spread as 8,225 hectares of land in Alhaurin el Grande, Coin, Mijas, Marbella, Ojen and Monda went up in flames, with 6,500 people evacuated leaving one dead and two seriously injured.
Three years on, the size of the case has overwhelmed Coin’s number three court, where proceedings are underway, and legal sources claim at the speed things are going it could take at least another four or five years for compensation to come through.
Although initially 100 homes were believed to have been affected, investigations have now found the number is more like 1,000 and along with assessing the damage in each individual case, court employees need to locate and speak to the owners, many of whom were expatriates who after the traumatic experience and loss of their belongings and/or homes decided to go home.
To further hinder matters, as valuations mount up and the figures discussed are currently at hundreds of millions of euros, the civil servant in charge of the case has been off sick for two months and in spite of repeated petitions for a replacement from the Junta de Andalucia regional government nothing has been done to speed up the process, court sources reported.

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