Cyprus Red Cross volunteers on the spot after fatal explosion

Published: 11 July 2011 12:22 CET

By Joe Lowry

Over 100 Cyprus Red Cross volunteers have been mobilised in the wake of a massive explosion that ripped through a naval base in the south of the country earlier today. A dozen people, including emergency workers, are reported to have been killed, with many injured. Homes in six villages surrounding the Evangelos Florakis base in Zygi, between the southern coastal cities of Limassol and Larnaca have been severaly damaged.

Takis Neophytou, Director General of Cyprus Red Cross reported that volunteers from branches in the nearby cities of of Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia were immediately activated as part of the national emergency plan. “We have volunteers on the spot right now assessing the damage and seeing what the needs of the people are. Windows and doors were blown in and people are in a state of shock. Other teams are helping in hospitals, providing psychological support and assisting in collecting blood.”

The blast was "rather like a sonic boom," said a local resident quoted in media reports. "The doors crashed together, the glass blew in – windows, door frames, things left their shelves. It was a total mess, as though a bomb had hit the place."

Volunteers are working alongside staff from the Ministries of Health and the Exterior as provided for in national legislation.

The full extent of needs is still unknown. The power supply across much of the south of the island has been severely disrupted, as the blast wave damaged the country’s main power station, affecting airports, communication and other infrastructure. Traffic havoc is reported on roads in the south.

Temperatures are soaring above 40 degrees and the Red Cross is distributing drinking water, much of it provided by Coca Cola Hellenic, to the emergency team and affected persons.

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