Passing on some news in Greece. Lorri
The Ionian island of Kefalonia is recovering from a series of earthquakes.
The first, on January 26, registered 6.0 on the Richter scale. A second major tremor, a little less powerful, hit a week later. There have also been hundreds of aftershocks. There is relief that the quakes did not claim any lives but residents have seen their homes destroyed.
“At the first earthquake the house took an inclination of 3 degrees to the left. At the second earthquake the house took the inclination to 45 degrees. Luckily, I was not inside because I would be dead now,” one resident in Lixouri explained.
Experts from ministries, regional authorities and public organizations travelled to the island to inspect the damage done by the quake and the aftershocks that followed. The earthquake caused many local people to run out of their homes, with many preferring not to return overnight. Employees at the island’s airport also refused to return into the building to complete check-in for a flight to Athens. Passengers’ documents were eventually checked outdoors.
Around 1,400 houses have been declared uninhabitable, leaving hundreds of families homeless. Two ferries with capacity for 2000 people arrived at the island to assist with the immediate accommodation and a tented camp was set up by the army at the Lixouri stadium. The Lixouri museum was converted into a distribution centre for food and water.
One news agency reported that: “The state, the church, private companies and residents have been sending supplies and teams of volunteers have been helping to distribute everything.”
The Interior Ministry said that rock falls had damaged roads on the island, which suffered extensive damage during an earthquake in 1953.
He added that public buildings would be the first to be checked. Schools on the island would not reopen until engineers have deemed them safe.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and a popular tourist destination. It was of course the setting in 2000 for the film “ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”
Much of its infrastructure has fortunately remained intact – and residents remain positive that the island would be ready for the summer holiday season. Tourism is the highest-earning industry for the crisis-hit Greek economy, which is in its sixth year of recession.
By Sherod Williams.