Relief for battered Lefkada

The government promised yesterday to spend 30 million euros on repairs to damaged roads and other infrastructure on the Ionian island of Lefkada that was battered by a strong earthquake last Thursday. The quake, which registered 6.4 on the Richter Scale, caused extensive damage, leaving more than 600 buildings unsuitable for habitation, while many roads developed cracks or were damaged by rockfalls. But although some 50 people were injured, there were no fatalities. A 5.9-Richter earthquake in Athens killed 143 people in 1999. Under the relief measures announced by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, who visited Lefkada yesterday, people whose homes have been deemed uninhabitable will receive rent support of 235-355 euros a month. Furthermore, the government will offer grants and interest-free loans for the reconstruction of destroyed or condemned buildings, and for repairs to more lightly damaged structures. By yesterday, some 500 families had received 600-euro grants to address their immediate needs.