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Greek Prime Minister visits quake-struck island

January 28, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras late Tuesday visited the earthquake-struck island of Kefalonia to inspect relief efforts as thousands of residents stayed away from their homes amid continuing aftershocks.

Samaras made an unscheduled overnight stop, diverting the government jet that was carrying him back from Brussels, where he held meetings under Greece’s assumption this month of the rotating European Union presidency.

Some 900 people spent Monday night on a car ferry. Earlier Tuesday, a second ferry arrived on Kefallonia to provide emergency shelter to people whose homes were damaged.

Sunday’s magnitude 5.9 quake damaged roads, homes and public buildings, mostly around Lixouri, the island’s second largest town.

Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis said building repairs could not start until the aftershocks had subsided.

Greece lies on one of the planet’s most earthquake-prone areas. In 1999, a quake killed 143 people in Athens. More than 50 years ago, a quake on Kefallonia left hundreds dead.

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