Monday, June 09, 2008

Evacuations follow Greek earthquake

Authorities have evacuated three villages in south west Greece following Sunday’s earthquake which killed at least 2 people and injured more than 200 [CNN]. On Monday seismologists warned a strong aftershock was expected. Yesterday’s earthquake measured at 6.5 on the Richter scale and struck around midday near to the port of Patras, 200 km from Athens [BBC]. More than 200 houses were damaged or entirely flattened in the tremor. Dozens of aftershocks have been reported but so far nothing on the scale of yesterday’s quake. The major archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympics, was undamaged. The government has said it will pay for the reconstruction of destroyed homes and pledged up to €13,000 ($20,000) to those whose homes suffered severe damage. Many of the affected areas were at the heart of last August's devastating forest fires, which killed 66 people and burnt hundreds of homes.

Meanwhile troops in China are continuing to battle against time as water levels rise in one of the so called quake lakes. By early Monday, the water level was more than 2 metres higher than the man-made channel created to ease the problem. Soldiers are using anti-tank weapons to blast away rocks and mud to prevent the water from getting to the channel. Experts have warned that the lake could burst at any time, flooding the homes of more than one million people. Already over a quarter of a million people have been evacuated from the path of potential floods. Latest government figures put the quake death toll at 69,136 with another 17,686 people missing [BBC / CNN].

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