NEWS

Quake-hit buildings scrutinized

State engineers yesterday continued inspections on hundreds of buildings in the prefectures of Ileia and Achaia that were damaged in Sunday’s 6.5-magnitude earthquake. Of some 621 buildings checked by late yesterday, 264 have been deemed unsafe to enter. Another 80 are due for demolition. Separate inspections on dozens of schools in the region found 24 to be of questionable stability. The Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization (EPPO), which operates under the Environment and Public Works Ministry, criticized local authorities for failing to conduct primary inspections on public buildings to determine which had been damaged. «We are unaware of the state of 95 percent of these buildings as the prefectures have ignored their duty to conduct inspections,» EPPO president Costas Makropoulos said. Inspections were also being conducted on damaged infrastructure including roads and irrigation networks. Each municipality is to receive between 150,000 and 200,000 euros in state funding for repairs to infrastructure and public buildings. Post-quake funding is to be boosted by a 500,000-euro donation by the Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod said after convening yesterday. The Church’s charity group Allilegii (Solidarity) already has donated clothes, food and bedding to quake victims, Thessaloniki’s Bishop Anthimos said. Meanwhile, as speculation of strong aftershocks began to die down, an Athens University geology professor rebuffed media claims that he had predicted a 7.2-Richter quake on the Ionian island of Cephalonia on July 30. Evangelos Layios said he had never referred to the date and location of a future earthquake during a recent interview with a television journalist, noting that his research was still under way.