Is­lan­ders of­fered help af­ter de­struc­tive quake

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

State in­spec­tors yes­ter­day be­gan as­sess­ing the con­sid­er­able dam­age wreaked on the Io­nian is­land of Cephalonia by Sun­day’s 5.9-Richter earth­quake even as af­ter­shocks con­tin­ued to rat­tle res­i­dents.

Schools were to re­main closed for a sec­ond day to­day as checks con­tin­ued on dozens of dam­aged build­ings and roads were cleared of rocks that tum­bled down dur­ing land­slides.

The bulk of the dam­age was sus­tained by the western town of Lixouri and three vil­lages with au­thor­i­ties de­cid­ing to evac­u­ate one, Atheras, as a safety pre­cau­tion.

The is­land’s ar­chae­o­log­i­cal mu­seum in Ar­gos­toli also sus­tained se­ri­ous dam­age, ac­cord­ing to Cul­ture Min­istry sources who said that a large num­ber of clay ves­sels had fallen to the ground and smashed dur­ing the quake.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Yian­nis Michelakis led a del­e­ga­tion of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials dis­patched to the is­land and pledged to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to “help res­i­dents re­turn to nor­mal as soon as pos­si­ble.” He pledged 100,000 eu­ros in state aid for the im­me­di­ate needs of the is­lan­ders and the same sum for res­i­dents of the nearby is­land of Ithaca which was also af­fected by the quake. Another 100,000 eu­ros for each of the is­lands’ mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties has also been set aside. Res­i­dents of both is­lands were also ex­tended a three-month amnesty from pay­ing out­stand­ing taxes and other debts to the state.

De­spite the af­ter­shocks that con­tin­ued to shake the is­land yes­ter­day, seis­mol­o­gists said it ap­peared in­creas­ingly un­likely that a stronger quake would hit the is­land as the in­ten­sity of the tremors was de­creas­ing. But many jit­tery is­lan­ders were re­port­edly pre­par­ing to spend a sec­ond night sleep­ing in town squares or in their cars. The elder res­i­dents have not for­got­ten a 7.2-mag­ni­tude quake that struck the is­land in 1953, killing hun­dreds of peo­ple and de­stroy­ing vir­tu­ally all the build­ings on the is­land.

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