Eyewitness account by US forces in the relief effort

American assistance to the earthquake victims was immediate and substantial. Following a report by the US charge d’ affaires, the Sixth Fleet and the USA, forces from Germany went straight to work. The representative of the US Mission in Greece sent the following report at 5.30 p.m. on August 13, 1953: «At this moment, we are sailing from the port of Argostoli where there is terrible confusion. We are working with the American destroyer Salem which arrived today. We helped move the more seriously injured out of Lixouri and are heading for Asos with food, medical supplies and mess kits, and will set up a rescue center to receive the seriously injured. Utter confusion prevails and there is a desperate shortage of drinking water. About 400 bodies have been found so far in Argostoli and Lixouri but there are many more under the rubble. A steady stream of refugees is arriving from the mountain villages, some of whom are able to walk, others are injured, some are carried on stretchers, some are even crawling. In Argostoli, there is a land hospital treating about 150 of the more seriously injured. Doctors from the USS Salem are offering their services. These patients are from Argostoli and Lixouri; we still do not know what the situation is in the mountains. About 10 minutes ago, we felt another terrible tremor. I saw the mountains along the coast slide down into the sea. We need tents, water and mess kits. People continue to come into town. There is no room for them to sleep anywhere and there is no food for them to eat. What we need more than anything else is water.»