eKathimerini — A team of 15 Greek special operations officers set sail to Italy from the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa on Wednesday to help in the search and rescue effort in the wake of the devastating earthquake that had claimed 159 lives so far.
“The Italians appealed for help early in the morning,” team leader Miltos Benakis was quoted by the ANA-MPA news agency as saying on Wednesday. “Two Greek earthquake evaluation experts have already departed for the neighboring country and we are also waiting for a formal invitation.”
The 6.2 Richter quake struck in the early morning hours when most people were asleep, destroying homes and roads in a cluster of towns and villages some 140 kilometres east of Rome.
With 368 people injured and an unknown number trapped under rubble, the figures for the dead and wounded were expected to rise in the wake of the predawn quake, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned.
“There are so far no Greek victims among the casualties,” the embassy said, going on to urge any Greeks living or vacationing in the area to respond to an appeal for blood donations.