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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-09-09

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] DEATH TOLL OF TUESDAY'S POWERFUL QUAKE IN ATHENS IS RISING
  • [02] SEISMOLOGISTS REASSURING ABOUT AFTERSHOCKS
  • [03] EMERGENCY MEASURES FOR QUAKE-STRICKEN POPULATION
  • [04] DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
  • [05] WRITS AGAINST CONTRACTORS AND ENGINEERS
  • [06] SCHOOLS AND STOCK EXCHANGE STILL CLOSED
  • [07] EUROPEAN COMMISSION EXTENDS CONDOLENCES
  • [08] POLITICAL LEADERS AND ARCHBISHOP VISIT QUAKE-HIT AREAS
  • [09] FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL MATCHES POSTPONED

  • [01] DEATH TOLL OF TUESDAY'S POWERFUL QUAKE IN ATHENS IS RISING

    The number of victims from Tuesday's powerful earthquake in Athens has now risen to 70, as rescue teams work round the clock, often in heavy rain, to remove those still trapped under the ruins of collapsed buildings. Over 100 people have so far been rescued, while at least 600 others are reported injured. More than 36 hours after the earthquake, measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, it is believed that about 70 people are still trapped under the rubble. Bolstered by teams from France, Turkey, Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, the Greek rescue squad is concentrating on 17 main points.

    [02] SEISMOLOGISTS REASSURING ABOUT AFTERSHOCKS

    Seismologists of the Anti-Seismic Protection Committee, which met yesterday at the ministry for the environment, planning and public works, have given assurances that the major quake has already occurred and that the continuing aftershocks, so far numbering over 750, are a perfectly natural development. The strongest aftershock measured 4.7 on the Richter scale. The Committee said such a powerful quake was a rare phenomenon for the region of Attica, pointing out that a stronger quake could be practically ruled out. Yesterday's rumours of a further big tremor were condemned as unfounded and alarmist. People have been warned, however, not to return to homes that have suffered damage without first having the building checked by a civil engineer.

    [03] EMERGENCY MEASURES FOR QUAKE-STRICKEN POPULATION

    Emergency relief measures for residents hit by the earthquake were announced yesterday by the prime minister, Kostas Simitis. He said every family made homeless by the tremor would receive an emergency payment of 200,000 drachmas, while camps with tents would be set up in all the earthquake-hit districts of the city. So far more than 6,000 tents have been erected. Mr Simitis said the Post Office Savings Bank had offered three multi-storey apartment blocks as immediate shelter for the homeless. Homeless people will also be able to stay in hotels free of charge or rent homes with the help of the state. Furthermore the state is to cover one third of the cost of reconstruction or repair of houses, and will grant 15-year interest-free loans to cover the remaining costs. Subsidised loans will be available to enable enterprises hit by the earthquake to get back on their feet.

    [04] DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

    The interior minister, Vaso Papandreou, stated yesterday that the earthquake had caused immense damage. Experts in the district of Ano Liossia said 25% of buildings had been condemned. The National Museum of Athens and the Dafni Monastery suffered some damage in the earthquake. The tremor hit the first floor of the Museum and the hall with the Thira mosaics. At Dafni, damage to the monastery's mosaics and the surrounding wall was reported. The Athens Acropolis and the Parthenon sustained some very minor damage, while the Byzantine museum, the Elefsina museum and the Kanellopoulos museum also suffered some damage and will remain closed till Saturday.

    [05] WRITS AGAINST CONTRACTORS AND ENGINEERS

    Meanwhile the justice minister, Evangelos Yannopoulos, has instructed the public prosecutor to issue writs against contractors and engineers bearing responsibility for the damage and loss of life sustained in the earthquake, including charges of manslaughter and negligence, bodily harm and violation of building regulations.

    [06] SCHOOLS AND STOCK EXCHANGE STILL CLOSED

    Because of the earthquake, the opening of the school year has been postponed for a week until 20th September, and repeat examinations for high-school students who failed subjects at the end of the last school year as well as examinations for children of Greeks abroad will be resumed on 13th September. The Athens Stock Exchange will remain closed again today. The administration made the decision yesterday saying that because of the quake last Tuesday's transactions were not fully cleared.

    [07] EUROPEAN COMMISSION EXTENDS CONDOLENCES

    The European Commission yesterday expressed its sorrow for the victims of the earthquake, while a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry said Turkey was ready to use all means at its disposal to help its "neighbour and friend".

    [08] POLITICAL LEADERS AND ARCHBISHOP VISIT QUAKE-HIT AREAS

    The Greek president, Kostis Stefanopoulos, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, the New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, other political party leaders and Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece have all been visiting the earthquake-hit areas.

    [09] FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL MATCHES POSTPONED

    Because of the earthquake, yesterday's scheduled football match between Greece and Albania in the preliminary round of the European Championships has been postponed until 6th October. Matches in the Greek Basketball Cup have also been postponed.
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