SAMOS, Greece — The State's imperative duty is to stand by the island of Samos, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday, speaking at the island where he visited to assess the earthquake's aftermath and to draw an action plan with a team of key ministers and local officials, following Friday's 6.7 Richter scale tremor there.
The Greek Premier visited the town of Vathi, where he met with the parents of the two teenagers who lost their lives at the earthquake, where he personally expressed condolences and his deep sorrow for the tragic event.
"Two young children lost their lives because a wall of an uninhabited building collapsed on them. I think we have a debt as a State and as a local government to look at this problem again. This is an issue that is very often pointed out to us by experts, as we know that new buildings are resistant to earthquakes even stronger than the one we experienced on Friday, but this does not apply to old, dangerous uninhabited buildings. We will deal with this problem, as I think it is the least we can do to honor the memory of these two young victims."
Also at Vathi, he met with and thanked rescue teams, the army as well as volunteers who collect damage registration applications, and then toured the town to see the damages that households and businesses have suffered. He talked to citizens and businessmen on the island who suffered damages by a post-quake tsunami.
At the town of Karlovasi, he saw the damages at the Panagia Theotokos local church and committed to see them repaired. There, he also met with Western Samos mayor Alexandros Lyberis, who thanked the Prime Minister for both the government's response to the emergencies caused by the quake, but also for finding a solution to the island's migration issue, thanking the Prime Minister personally on the latter.
Earlier on Saturday, Mitsotakis also chaired a broad meeting at Samos with Deputy Minister of Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias, several key ministers and local officials.
"I wanted to gain a first-hand understanding of the damages, the immediate next steps that need to be taken, and also begin to draw medium-term interventions that need to be pursued, mainly in matters concerning public and private infrastructure," he stressed.
The municipalities of eastern and western Samos were on Saturday declared in a state of emergency for six months, until April 30 2021, by order of minister Hardalias.
The Chios island municipality was also declared in a state of emergency on Saturday following a meeting of local officials, in view of extensive post-quake damages there.