Relief measures announced for Cephalonia residents

Ministers and local authority representatives meeting on the quake-hit island of Cephalonia on Tuesday announced a series of measures to help residents whose homes were damaged by two strong earthquakes that came just over a week apart.

The measures include help with rent for tenants as well as access to low-interest credit for rebuilding and repairing damaged residences.

The emergency meeting on Tuesday included the participation of the ministers of Infrastructure, Michalis Chrysochoidis, Education, Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, Tourism, Olga Kefaloyianni, and Health, Adonis Georgiadis, as well as public works, military and local authority representatives. They were also briefed by two seismologists from the Geodynamic Institute, which on Monday said that it cannot overrule the possibility that the island may suffer another large quake in the future.

Chrysochoidis said that he will be meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in the coming days to work out the details of how the cash-strapped state can provide assistance to Cephalonia's residents.

He added than an initial assessment of the damage found that some 600 buildings will have to be torn down, 1,100 need extensive repairs and 1,400 suffered minor damages.

Chrysochoidis further stressed the need for repairs to commence as soon as possible on the popular island's road network and its airport in a bid to contain the impact of the two earthquakes on tourism arrivals just a few months before the start of the summer season.