Aftershocks continue to shake the Dodecanese island of Kos, two days after a 6.7-magnitude on the Richter scale earthquake rocked the popular Greek holiday resort, sending its residents and tourist away from their homes and hotels. Two strong aftershocks that happened 16 minutes apart Saturday night sent people in the squares of the towns and villages. Many of them who spent the night outdoors in temporary camps on Friday were expected to do the same on Saturday.
Two people died and many were injured, two of them in serious condition, during the main earthquake.
In statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), Prof. Efthymios Lekkas of the Organisation for Seismic Planning and Protection (OASP) confirmed that the seismic progression was normal and said that a network of five new seismographs will be installed on the island soon to better monitor seismic activity in the surrounding region.
Steve Marinos, a deli owner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was at the time of the earthquake at his birthplace, the village of Pyli, where his parents live. As he was quoted in the local Lancaster newspaper, he was alone and a few hundred feet away from his parents’ home .
“I heard this loud roar followed by shaking,” Marinos told LNP while still in Kos on Friday. “The shaking started and I realized it was an earthquake and started hearing the … windows cracking and children screaming.”
Everyone in the island village of Pyli — including Marinos, his extended family and what he estimated as two-dozen total Lancaster residents who were visiting — is safe and unharmed following a powerful 6.5-magnitude quake there early Friday morning.
Pyli, where Marinos was born before his parents emigrated to the United States, is about nine miles west of Kos Town, where most of the damage occurred.
“Other than a couple things falling off of shelves, paintings being twisted around here on the walls, there wasn’t much damage,” said Marinos, who was in the village’s center square trying to get some work done when the quake hit.
Because he was in an open area, which he described as similar to Binns Park in downtown Lancaster, he didn’t feel the same shaking as his parents felt in their nearby home, where they spend half the year when they’re not in Lancaster.
Marinos said he stayed in the square for about 15 minutes as people left the surrounding homes and filled the area.
He also said he quickly made a point to check on a couple older family members who lived nearby — including his 101-year-old grandmother, who slept right through the earthquake.
The rest of the night was “unsteady” and nerve-wracking as they felt nine aftershocks over the next several hours, he said.
“It was quite an experience,” said Marinos, 43, owner of Cravings Deli. “I never realized the power and impact of an earthquake. I was kind of caught off-guard.”
He’s at the tail end of a two-week visit and Friday was supposed to be his last full day on the island. Even with the heavy damages and interruption to some travel services, he said he still expected to be able to leave this morning, as scheduled.
An Ottawa Greek family that was also rattled by earthquake is trying to return home and spoke to CBC about its experience.
Bill Kokkaliaris and his three children were awoken by the shaking while sleeping in their hotel room in Kos, which was hit the hardest by the powerful quake.
“Honestly, it took me 30 seconds to react. I thought I was having a bad dream,” said Kokkaliaris, who is director of the St-Laurent Academy school in Ottawa.
Kokkaliaris family in Greece after earthquake
Kokkaliaris described the scary situation from the Athens airport, where his family was hoping to catch a flight back to Canada as soon as possible.
“We had cracks in the foundation, the pool had spilled onto our floor. You would see cracks in ceilings,” he said.
He said they were fortunate to be staying in one of the newer units at the resort, as other travellers woke up to collapsed ceilings.
According to Kokkaliaris, there were other Canadians on the island when the quake hit.
“I spoke to several Canadian families, and everyone is safe. Everyone is taken care of,” he said.
Now, he just wants to get his family home.
“We’re exhausted. I’ll say honestly that in the last 48 hours, my kids had maybe seven hours of sleep. It’s been very, very eventful. Tiring.”