Res­i­dents, tourists still jit­tery af­ter tremor kills 2, in­jures 500

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Costas Kantouris

KOS, GREECE» Crews of ex­perts be­gan ex­am­in­ing the dam­age to cul­tural mon­u­ments and in­fra­struc­ture on the east­ern Greek is­land of Kos on Satur­day, a day af­ter a pow­er­ful earth­quake killed two tourists and in­jured nearly 500 oth­ers in the Aegean Sea re­gion that stretches to Turkey’s sprawl­ing coast.

Res­i­dents and tourists were still jit­tery as a se­ries of af­ter­shocks Satur­day night continued to rock the is­land. A tremor mea­sur­ing a pre­lim­i­nary 4.4 mag­ni­tude struck at 8:09 p.m. Satur­day, send­ing res­i­dents and res­tau­rant cus­tomers scur­ry­ing to­ward the mid­dle of the town’s main square, as far away as pos­si­ble from build­ings.

Six­teen min­utes later, a sec­ond 4.6-mag­ni­tude tremor struck, the Athens Geo­dy­nam­ics In­sti­tute re­ported. The first tremor had its epi­cen­ter only 12.5 miles north­east of Kos at a depth of 6.2 miles.

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents and tourists spent Fri­day night sleep­ing out­doors on the is­land, too afraid to re­turn to their homes or ho­tels af­ter the quake that struck early Fri­day. Many camped out in parks and olive groves, or slept in their cars or on beach and swimming pool lounge chairs.

The af­ter­shocks Satur­day night meant that many would spend a sec­ond night out­doors.

Dur­ing the day in Kos, churches, an old mosque, the port’s 14th-cen­tury cas­tle and other old build­ings that suf­fered in the quake were be­ing checked by ar­chae­ol­o­gists and ex­perts from Greece’s Cul­ture Min­istry.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey mea­sured the quake Fri­day at mag­ni­tude 6.7, with Greek and Turkish es­ti­mates a frac­tion lower. Two men, a Turk and a Swede, were killed when a wall col­lapsed into a pop­u­lar bar in the Old Town of Kos.

The most se­ri­ously in­jured in Greece were air­lifted to hos­pi­tals on the main­land and the south­ern is­land of Crete, and at least two were still in crit­i­cal con­di­tion Satur­day.

The Turkish man’s par­ents were on the is­land mak­ing ar­range­ments to repa­tri­ate his body home by boat, pos­si­bly on Sun­day.

Pana­gi­o­tis Bekali, a 30year-old res­i­dent, spent the night sleep­ing in an olive grove with rel­a­tives while his 5-year-old son and 16year-old nephew slept in the fam­ily car.

“There were cracks in the house (from the earth­quake) so we went straight out,” he said. “We were afraid to stay in­doors, so the whole fam­ily slept out­side.”

Dozens of af­ter­shocks have shaken the is­land.

John Grant, a 60-year-old tourist from Bri­tain, said he felt safer sleep­ing out­side.

“Com­ing from some­where that doesn’t have earth­quakes, you don’t un­der­stand,” he said from his makeshift bed on a lounge chair. “So to me it was very fright­en­ing be­ing in the build­ing. But be­ing out­side, I know I’m safe.”

About 350 of the in­juries oc­curred in Turkey, in Bo­drum and other beach re­sorts, as peo­ple fled build­ings and as a sea swell flung cars off the road and pushed boats ashore. Seis­mol­o­gists said the shal­low depth of the un­der­sea quake Fri­day was to blame for the dam­age.

In Kos, the quake dam­aged the is­land’s main port, so fer­ries were be­ing di­verted to the smaller port of Ke­fa­los on the is­land’s south­west­ern coast.

Serif Da­madoglou Soukri, the imam of Kos, said the great­est dam­age to Kos mosques was sus­tained by the cen­tral 17th-cen­tury Defter­natar Ibrahim Pasa mosque.

Louisia Gou­lia­maki, AFP

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