Greek holiday island battles to recover from deadly quake
The Greek holiday island of Kos yesterday was struggling to recover from a quake that killed two people and injured hundreds, with tourists facing flight delays and the damaged main harbor closed for a second day. The 6.7magnitude tremor also left hundreds more injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, about 20 kilometers across the sea from Kos. “Given the amount of people outside at the time, having only two victims is a miracle,” deputy Kos mayor David Yerasklis told Kathimerini daily. The undersea quake struck at 1:31 am Friday (2231 GMT Thursday) between Kos and Bodrum.
At the time, tourists in both places were out enjoying the nightlife. On Kos, the upper facade of a two-storey nightclub collapsed on people outside, killing a 22-year-old Swede and a 39year-old Turk. Another 120 people were hurt, seven of them seriously, while some 360 people were injured in Bodrum-many after jumping out of windows. The badly injured on Kos were flown to hospitals in Athens and Crete, including two men from Sweden and Norway who are in critical condition.
The hospital on Crete yesterday said the 23year-old Norwegian-who had lost his lower leg early on-had to have his other leg amputated. The 21-year-old Swede has serious head injuries and broken bones. Police on Friday had given their nationalities in the inverse order. Another 20 people remained hospitalized in Turkey, said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who sent his sympathies. “Hardship, like joy, is shared where neighbors are concerned,” Yildirim said. Kos is one of Greece’s top travel destinations, and particularly popular with British, German and Scandinavian tourists.
The quake struck at the height of the tourism season, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday warned against “dramatizing” the issue. “Creating a climate of exaggeration and dramatization does not help restoring normality in daily life on the island,”Tsipras’ office said in a statement.
Government officials and expert divers yesterday were inspecting Kos’s harbor, which was cracked by the tremor and has been declared unsafe for use.
But the rest of island’s infrastructure network including roads is mostly intact, they stressed. Ferries have been rerouted to the smaller port town of Kefalos in west Kos until repairs are made. “All scheduled ferry services are now running from Kefalos, both incoming and outgoing,” a Kos coastguard operator said.
Many people spent the night outdoors as a precaution, setting up tents in parks and squares, but officials noted that the majority of hotels were unaffected by the quake. Deborah Kinnear, a 35-year-old psychologist from Glasgow, said her family initially thought of returning home but no flights were available. — AFP
KOS: People look at a car crushed under rubble near the port of the Greek island of Kos following a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which struck the region on July 21, 2017.