NEWS

Kos dusts itself off after deadly quake hits island

TAGS: Earthquake

One of Greece’s most popular islands, Kos, was trying to recover on Friday after a major earthquake struck at around 1.30 a.m., killing two people, injuring dozens and causing damage to the port.

The Geodynamic Institute in Athens said the quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale. It caused damage to numerous homes and local businesses, as well as the island’s port, leading to disruptions to ferry schedules.

A Turkish and a Swedish tourist, aged 39 and 22 years, died when the roof of a popular bar collapsed. Around 115 people were injured, including tourists of various nationalities. Twelve of them suffered serious injuries, according to authorities.

Speaking from the Turkish resort of Bodrum across the Aegean, where the quake also inflicted damage, Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu said the Turkish tourist killed in Kos was named Sinan Kurdoglu. No other details were provided. Cavusoglu said another Turkish national was injured on the Greek island.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that one of the victims was a 20-year-old man who lived in central Sweden. His name was not revealed. Norway’s Foreign Ministry said a Norwegian man was seriously injured and was flown to a hospital for treatment.

Constantina Svynou, head of the hoteliers’ association in Kos, told Greek state television ERT that many visitors had spent the night outside their hotels after the quake struck

“There are about 200,000 tourists on the island, we are at the peak season. Our first reaction was to calm the tourists, following basic rules and evacuating hotel buildings,” Svynou said, adding that there had been no injuries at hotels.

The EU offered emergency equipment, personnel and satellite imagery to help Greek authorities deal with the aftermath. European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides said “the EU offers its full support.”

The US Geological Survey located the epicenter of the main quake in the Aegean Sea, about 16 kilometers from Kos’s main port, which was rendered out of action as safety checks were carried out. Ferry passengers were rerouted to Nisyros and Kalymnos.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Christos Spritzis was one of the members of the government who visited Kos on Friday to see the damage first-hand and to speak to local officials. He insisted that the island’s infrastructure, roads and new buildings had resisted the quake and its numerous aftershocks admirably.

“As it is the summer period, we should avoid over-dramatizing events,” said government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos. “Citizens should not heed rumors. They should only get their information from official voices.”

The earthquake also prompted a change to the political schedule in Athens. Parliament was due to debate on Friday whether to set up an in inquiry to investigate Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s contact with a convicted drug smuggler. This process was postponed until September.

Online