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live Samaras on a surprise visit to Kefalonia, the earthquakes continue

29 January 2014 / 14:01:05  GRReporter
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"I wanted to personally see the consequences of the earthquake," said Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras upon arriving in the "capital" of Kefalonia, Argostoli, straight from Brussels.
He participated in the meeting of the services involved in the emergency operations, the headquarters of which is in the building of the former college and was informed in detail about the situation on the island. Antonis Samaras spent the night in the town and this morning visited the area of Lixouri, which the strong earthquake on Sunday had affected the most.

The Greek Prime Minister wanted to see for himself the damage caused by the earthquake and talked to residents. He stated that "the state has never reacted so quickly" and urged the authorities to help the affected people.

Shortly before 11:00 am, Antonis Samaras returned to Argostoli where he said at a press conference, "Kefalonia has withstood. The island is still a very beautiful and safe tourist destination." In his words, the inspections have already verified the stability of the majority of the schools on the island and it is expected that they will resume functioning on Monday. The authorities have provided new rooms for the students of the few schools that have suffered very serious damage.

According to Antonis Samaras, the pace of work of the engineering teams is very good since, within 48 hours, they were able to inspect more than 400 houses, shops and public buildings, the total number of institutions affected by the earthquake being 14. As for the road network, the Greek Prime Minister pointed out that with the exception of the main thoroughfare Argostoli - Lixouri, "there are few problems''. Samaras also assured that the hospitals on the island were working properly, the elderly from the nursing home were in good condition and accommodated elsewhere.

"The ports and the airport are fully functional," stressed the Prime Minister, adding that the earthquake has not seriously affected the exhibits in the museum in Argostoli.

According to the engineering teams, half of the houses in Lixouri and Argostoli inspected up to this moment have suffered some kind of damage due to the quake. The authorities’ efforts are aimed at repairing the houses with verified stability in view of the forecasts for frost and severe weather conditions expected in February.

Meanwhile, aftershocks continue and seismologists do not exclude the possibility of a particularly stronger one.

"Today we are closer to the view that the earthquake on Sunday was the main one. We do not exclude earthquakes of about 5 on the Richter scale that will cause further damage to buildings. The residents will need to consult the engineering teams," said head of the Research Department in the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens Gerasimos Papadopoulos. According to him, from Sunday to Wednesday, there were 23 aftershocks of above 4 on the Richter scale, more than 100 of which with a magnitude higher than 3 and hundreds of weaker ones.

GRReporter readers are telling how they are experiencing the ongoing aftershocks.

"Even now, as I am writing this, the earth is rocking. It is frightening. However, the people here take things more as philosophers, as they have gone through a lot. Nevertheless, there is damage and it will take more resources and time to recover," Dimitra Marinova writes on her Facebook page.

"Yes, it is scary, quite scary. I'm in Athens, but I have a friend there and I talk with her every day," adds Mariana Krasteva.

"I'm in Ithaca. Another earthquake is rocking us while I am writing this. The shocks do not stop. Frankly, it is scary," writes Mima Polizanova. She lives on the island we know from Homer’s "Iliad", which is located near Kefalonia.

"Regardless of how weak the earthquake is, fear comes when you feel it. And when you hear the earth roaring, it is scary. It was the same during the earthquake in Vrancea in Romania," tells Slavka Ivanova.

Around 2,000 people continue to spend the nights on board the two ships that arrived from Piraeus on Monday and Tuesday for this purpose. In his statements, Prime Minister Samaras said that the residents would have to obtain financial assistance to repair their houses immediately. It is expected that the local municipalities will begin to allocate the funds to those affected by the earthquake on Thursday at the latest.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyKefaloniaAntonis SamarasEarthquakeDamageAftershocks
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