|Tuesday, 15 October 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-12-27
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 BIBLICAL DISASTERAthens, 27 December 2004 (13:24 UTC+2)
The death toll of the devastating earthquake of 8.9 on the Richter scale and the massive tidal waves that followed and hit the wider region of the Indian Ocean is over 22,000 and growing. Hundreds of thousands of people were injured, while hundreds of thousands more are missing and millions are left homeless. The disaster is biblical in terms of buildings and infrastructure.
The worst hit regions are Sri Lanka, south India and Indonesia where buildings collapsed and entire communities were destroyed, while thousands of people were washed away by the huge tidal waves.
The countries mentioned have been declared in a state of emergency and have issued a call for international assistance.
 GREEK AID TO THE EARTHQUAKE STRICKEN AREASAthens, 27 December 2004 (13:05 UTC+2)
Greece is among the first countries in the world to respond with emergency humanitarian aid to the areas stricken by the huge tidal waves caused by the earthquake of 8.9 on the Richter scale that hit Indonesia in the early morning hours yesterday.
A transport C-130 aircraft departs from the Elefsina military base with medical and pharmaceutical material to aid the victims of the biblical disaster.
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos stated that the Greek embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok and New Delhi will be open on a 24-hour basis to assist the Greek nationals in the area.
 THE OA PLANE RETURNS TO GREECEAthens, 27 December 2004 (18:31 UTC+2)
An Olympic Airlines passenger plane is about to take off from Phuket in Thailand to return to Greece on a special flight to bring back to Athens the Greek tourists who spent the Christmas holidays in the areas stricken by the devastating earthquake and tidal waves.
According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, on board the plane are a total of 156 passengers, among them, 2 French, 5 Cypriots and 4 Britons, while all the rest are Greek nationals.
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis are constantly briefed on the situation.
Meanwhile, the Greek Foreign Ministry has announced that the Greek embassies in Bangkok, Jakarta and New Delhi will be open on a 24-hour basis.
 UNCONFIRMED INFORMATION ON MISSING GREEK TOURISTSAthens, 27 December 2004 (17:38 UTC+2)
The Greek Foreign Ministry did not confirm information on Greek tourists missing in the earthquake stricken areas of SE Asia.
Foreign Ministry sources mention that there are people who had no contact with their relatives in Greece but this does not mean that they are missing. It could mean that those people had no access to communication means because of the situation.
Meanwhile, 138 Greeks boarded the Olympic Airlines passenger plane that arrived in Phuket to bring them back. Dutch and Italian tourists are also on the plane after an agreement with the Dutch EU Presidency.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 27 December 2004 (17:25 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.08% at 2766.15 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 114,8 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 185 had gains and 109 had losses, while the value of 126 remained unchanged.
 THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ON THE GREEKS IN SE ASIAAthens, 27 December 2004 (16:18 UTC+2)
There is no contact with Sri Lanka, while in Maldives the situation is calm and in Indonesia there are no Greek tourists, according to Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos.
Mr. Koumoutsakos stressed that there are no Greeks facing any kind of problem in Malaysia, while there is a special reception area at the airport of Phuket for the Greek tourists.
According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, a total of 1,500 people had left the country to spend Christmas holidays in the region.
The first flight with Greek tourists from Thailand arrived in Athens in the early morning hours today.
 CONDOLENCES TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE COUNTRIES IN SE ASIAAthens, 27 December 2004 (15:11 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis sent telegrams of condolences to the governments of the countries of SE Asia hit by the earthquake of 8.9 on the Richter scale and the massive tidal waves that followed.
Telegrams of condolences were sent to the governments of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India and Maldives.
 THE OLYMPIC AIRLINES AIRBUS HAS LANDED IN PHUKETAthens, 27 December 2004 (14:45 UTC+2)
The Olympic Airlines Airbus, sent to bring back to Athens a total of 150 Greek tourists, has landed in the island of Phuket with 3 diplomatic corps officials and a doctor.
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met with Minister of Tourism Dimitris Avramopoulos, while earlier he had meetings with the deputy Foreign Ministers.
Deputy Foreign Ministers Yiannis Valinakis and Panagiotis Skandalakis briefed the Prime Minister on the action taken in the past 24 hours regarding the Greek tourists in the areas hit by the devastating earthquake and the tidal waves that followed as well as on the actions currently underway.
 GREEK HUMANITARIAN AID TO MALDIVES AND SRI LANKAAthens, 27 December 2004 (14:15 UTC+2)
The Greek Foreign Ministry decided to send emergency humanitarian aid of 150,000 euros to the government of Maldives and another 150,000 euros to the government of Sri Lanka, according to deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Silianidis.
Also, a Greek Air Force C-130 transport plane with humanitarian aid has already departed for Maldives and the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
A total of 6 Greek non-governmental organizations specializing in managing such crises participate in the humanitarian mission.
The Church of Greece with its organization Solidarity sent 5 tons of food aid and clothing, the Doctors of the Heart 1 ton of medical-pharmaceutical aid and 2 volunteer doctors, the Doctors of the World 4 volunteer doctors fully equipped, the European Prospect 2 volunteers specializing in crises management to help in the restoration effort of the affected communities, the Thessaloniki Rescue Team 2 fully equipped rescuers, while the Volunteer Fire Fighters Corps sent 3 specialists in the management of crises caused by natural disasters, 30 tents with a capacity of 360 people, special tools to support heavily damaged buildings, other equipment and bandages for 1,000 people.