(Greece) – Fifteen Greek special operations officers set sail in Igoumenitsa, a port that is located in the northwest of Greece, in order to sail to Italy to help with search and rescue efforts after the devastating earthquake that struck early this week. The quake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter scale, has claimed over 250 lives so far and the number is still rising. There are also over 350 people injured and that number is also rising. In addition to the initial quake, there have been periodic aftershocks, which have caused further damage.
Miltos Benakis, the team leader of the operation, said on Wednesday that, “The Italians appealed for help early in the morning. Two Greek earthquake evaluation experts have already departed for the neighboring country and we are also waiting for a formal invitation.”
The earthquake struck on Tuesday night while people were sleeping in an area that is about 140 kilometers east of the city of Rome. Many people were stuck under the debris and rubble from homes and other buildings and as search and rescue efforts were underway, the number of those who were injured or who lost their lives began to climb. Roads were also destroyed.
The Greek team was deployed and ready to help with the rescue efforts. So far, no Greeks have been reported as being amongst the injured or deceased. The Greek Embassy in Rome released a statement saying, “There are so far no Greek victims among the casualties.”
Greece and Italy are both on major fault lines. However, according to seismologists, Italy’s quake doesn’t put Greece’s fault lines at risk. However, Gerasimos Houliaras, the director of the Institute of Geodynamics, has said that it is too soon to tell if the Italian quake is the beginning of a series of earthquakes or if it was just an isolated occurrence.