|Monday, 23 September 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-09-08
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 40 DEAD SO FAR IN STRONG EARTHQUAKE IN ATHENSYesterday's powerful earthquake in Athens, which measured 5.9 on the Richter scale, has been followed by at least 600 aftershocks. A tremor measuring 4.2 occurred in the Athens region at 21 minutes past 6 this morning, while an aftershock measuring 4.7 was registered shortly after midnight.
The epicentre of the quake was 20 km from downtown Athens, in the region of Mount Parnes, and was close to the surface at a depth of only 10 km. So far 40 people are known to have died as a result of yesterday's quake and a further 400 were injured, while dozens of houses, mainly in the city's north-western suburbs, have suffered considerable damage. Menidi, Nea Philadelphia, Ano Liosia, Kato Kifisia, Halkidona, Nea Ionia, Nea Erythraia and Thrakomakedones are the areas where most problems have occurred. A huge rescue operation has been mounted by special teams working against the clock to save people still buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Attention is focused on the Ricomex and Fourlis factories at Menidi, which was close to the epicentre of yesterday's main tremor, and on three apartment blocks in Menidi, Metamorphosi and Nea Philadelphia. Turkey, France, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and other countries have offered to help in the rescue operation and France has decided to send a team of 40 specially trained people to look for trapped survivors.
Turkish president Suleyman Demirel yesterday sent Turkey's warmest condolences to Greece-expressing the Turkish people's regret for the loss of lives-following the earthquake, and said Turkey was ready to provide aid if required. Seismologists who are monitoring developments closely believe yesterday's 5.9 tremor to have been the main one, but say aftershocks will continue for the next few days.
All hospitals and ambulance services and engineers from the environment ministry and prefectural departments are on the alert. The task of assessing the damage caused by yesterday's tremor gets under way this morning. 1,400 tents, supplies of bottled water and sandwiches are being sent to the people hit by the quake.
The government is to make an emergency payment of 200,000 drachmas to meet the immediate needs of every family made homeless. An emergency meeting was held yesterday evening under the chairmanship of prime minister Kostas Simitis with the participation of several ministers to coordinate rescue efforts and decide on relief measures.
Prime minister Simitis, who visited the scene of the rescue operations in Menidi last night, called for people to remain calm. Politicians from all parties have been expressing their sorrow at the loss of life and sympathy with the families of victims. Checks carried out at Athens airport have shown that the installations are absolutely safe. Olympic Airways announced that there was no danger whatsoever to passengers or personnel. All schools and creches in Attica will remain closed today, as will the Athens Stock Exchange.
 AMERICAN CYPRUS COORDINATOR VISITS ATHENSAmerican special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston has said shortly before leaving Nicosia for Athens that his aim was to achieve a just and permanent Cyprus solution. He added no solution would be possible unless all sides agreed to discuss all the possibilities. Mr Weston is scheduled to have talks in Athens today with Greek alternate foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis.
 GREEK PRESIDENT HAS WORKING SESSION WITH PRIME MINISTERPresident of the republic Kostis Stefanopoulos and prime minister Kostas Simitis yesterday had an hour of talks on domestic and foreign developments, the state of the economy, Greek-Turkish relations and issues related to the European Union, in view of the forthcoming EU summit. In statements later on, the prime minister said that this year was crucial for Greece because it would be decisive for the important question of the country's participation as a full member in European economic and monetary union. Mr Simitis stressed that the government would not waver in its efforts to ensure Greece's entry in economic and monetary union.
 CYPRIOT PRESIDENT EXPECTED IN ATHENS ON TUESDAYPresident of the Cyprus republic Glafkos Kliridis and prime minister Simitis will have a meeting in Athens on Tuesday. Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said president Kliridis would stop over in Athens on his way to New York to address the UN general assembly.
 GREEK JAVELIN CHAMPION WINS IN BERLINGreek javelin champion Kostas Gatsioudis came first yesterday at the Berlin international meeting with 87.96 m.