Greek hol­i­day is­land bat­tles to re­cover from deadly quake

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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