Quake victims line up for payouts

As state engineers continued inspections on buildings in the Peloponnese shaken by last Sunday’s 6.5-magnitude earthquake, local banks were crowded with hundreds of locals seeking compensation for damaged homes. By late yesterday afternoon, some 550 quake victims had managed to collect their cash but several hundred more were told by authorities that they needed additional documents to justify their claims, fueling tension at some of the bank branches. Some 5,000 inspections of public buildings and homes damaged by the quake had been completed by late yesterday, according to alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. School and college buildings that sustained large cracks remained off-limits yesterday. An initiative to evacuate the Aghias Andreas Hospital, whose walls suffered damage in the quake, was virtually complete by late yesterday. Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, who visited the site, said the hospital would receive all the funding necessary for its renovation. Patients have been transferred to hospitals in nearby Rio and Ioannina, in northwestern Greece. As regards the overall regeneration of the quake-hit prefectures of Ileia and Achaia, which also bore the brunt of last summer’s catastrophic fires, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said a restructuring program will be drafted by the end of September. Opposition leaders were quick to express their solidarity with quake victims. Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, who met in Parliament with visiting local authority officials, warned against «sloppy temporary solutions.» The leader of the Coalition for the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras, who toured the prefectures of Ileia and Achaia, said quake victims should be «compensated 100 percent for their losses.» Visiting representatives of local organizations were involved in minor scuffles with police outside the Maximos Mansion where they had been waiting to speak to Yiannis Angelou, the director of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s office. Angelou had been in Parliament at the time.