Greek holiday island battles to recover from deadly quake
Kos, Greece - The Greek holiday island of Kos on Saturday was struggling to recover from a quake that killed two people and injured hundreds, with tourists facing flight delays and the damaged main harbour closed for a second day.
The 6.7-magnitude tremor also left hundreds more injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, about 20km across the sea from Kos.
“Given the amount of people outside at the time, having only two victims is a miracle,” Kos deputy mayor David Yerasklis told Kathimerini daily.
The undersea quake struck at 1:31 am Friday 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 39 year 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 on Saturday said the 23 year 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 hospitalised in Turkey, said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who sent his sympathies.
“Hardship, like joy, is shared where neighbours are concerned,” Yildirim said.
Kos is one of Greece’s top travel destinations, and particu- larly 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 ‘dramatising’ the issue.
‘Creating a climate of exaggeration and dramatisation does not help restoring normality in daily life on the island’, Tsipras’ office said in a statement.
Government officials and expert divers on Saturday were inspecting Kos’ harbour, 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.
“I think calm is being restored,” she said after spending the night outdoors. “Last night wasn’t too bad. Hoping the worst is over... this has been one of our best holidays,” she told AFP.
A car crushed under rubble near the port of the Greek island of Kos after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday