NEWS

Squatters taking over quake camp

Victims of the September 1999 Athens earthquake only account for 10-15 percent of the residents of the makeshift camps of shipping containers set up for people left homeless by the natural disaster that caused 143 deaths, the government said yesterday. Responding in Parliament to demands from the Communist Party (KKE) for more state reconstruction aid to victims of the 5.9 Richter quake that damaged buildings throughout northwestern Athens, Deputy Public Works Minister Yiannis Tsaklidis said most of the current camp-dwellers should not be there, and the rest ought to apply for aid and leave. «If some people do not wish to apply for aid and want to stay on (in the camps), they cannot remain there,» Tsaklidis said. «They must leave. Three-and-a-half years have passed… Many (of the victims) have left, and various people who may not have homes of their own went and took their places.» KKE MP Antonis Skyllakos had pressed for an increase in aid to victims who want to rebuild their homes – currently 188 euros per square meter for repairs and 381 euros for total reconstruction.