Drive to house quake victims, assess damage on Lesvos


As aftershocks continued to shake Lesvos Tuesday, a day after a 6.1-magnitude quake shook the eastern Aegean island, leaving one woman dead and several people injured, authorities declared a state of emergency and scrambled to accommodate homeless residents and assess the extent of the damage.

Efforts were under way to move hundreds of displaced islanders from a makeshift camp set up on Monday night on a soccer ground to local hotels and other accommodation. Most of those left homeless were from the village of Vrisa, which was hit particularly hard by the quake.

Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said those left homeless would be given financial support and that a team of architects would be brought in to discuss plans to rebuild the traditional houses that collapsed during the quake.

A team of 100 civil engineers started inspections on buildings Tuesday, deeming at least 150 structures to be unstable. Dozens more houses were destroyed on Monday, mostly in and around the village of Vrisa in the island’s south.

The quake’s epicenter was located off the island’s southern coast and it was felt keenly in neighboring Turkey though no injuries were reported there.

Seismologists Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of a stronger earthquake following the original 6.1-Richter temblor, noting that the 48 hours immediately after the quake would be critical.

Experts rebuffed reports, however, that the quake may have affected other regional fault lines and could trigger a very strong quake.

Twelve of the 14 schools that had been slated to be used as examination centers for would-be university entrants were checked and found to be safe but the Education Ministry decided to postpone the exams anyway as a precaution.