Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

Archives July 12, 2011 posted by

Killed navy chief issued urgent pleas for removal of munitions, but government ignored him


THE NAVY heads in charge of storing the explosive Monchegorsk cargo had warned their superiors that the 98 containers were buckling under the sun and needed protection, it transpired yesterday.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou yesterday acknowledged that a meeting was held at the Defence Ministry last week, where certain decisions were taken regarding protection of the material which “unfortunately were not implemented due to lack of time”.

However, Nicolas Ioannides, son of the National Guard’s navy chief Andreas Ioannides, who was killed during yesterday’s explosion, insisted that the government had ignored constant pleas from top military brass, including his father, on the dangers of keeping the cargo at Mari navy base.

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‘Criminal errors’ in navy base blast

TWELVE dead and 62 injured – two seriously – the island’s main power station destroyed and significant damage to private properties, were the result of what appears to be criminal negligence on behalf of officials who left containers full of munitions exposed to the elements for more than two years.

The huge explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base at Mari in the early hours Monday killed the navy chief and the base commander along with four other sailors and six fire-fighters,  who had been battling a blaze around 98 containers full of munitions ‘stored’ by being stacked together and exposed to the elements.

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Our View: Christofias’ do-nothing policy is at fault for blast’s needless tragedy

PRESIDENT Christofias was adding insult to injury when he offered his sympathy and condolences to the families of the people who were killed in yesterday’s massive explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base. It was not sympathy, but a big personal apology he owed the families who needlessly lost loved ones in a disaster that would have been avoided if our country was run by a less incompetent president.

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Muslim for a month

Gandhi, born a Hindu, once said: “I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” Most people will never achieve such enlightenment (or spout such pious tripe, if you are of a less reverent turn of mind). But such thinking certainly creates an opening for innovative programmes like “Muslim for a Month.”

No, really. There is an organisation that invites people of other religions or none to come to Istanbul and live as Muslims for a month. Well, not a month, exactly: the 9-day “Explorations” programme costs $900 and the 21-day “Ruminations” programme costs $1890.

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The victims of the naval base tragedy

* Captain Andreas Ioannides, Commander of the Navy (National Guard General Staff)

* Commander Lambros Lambrou, Commander of the Naval Base

* Warrant Officer Kleanthis Kleanthous, Non Commissioned Officer in the Naval Command

* Petty Officer Michalis Irakleous, Non Commissioned Officer in the Naval Command Base

* Sailor (National Guard) Miltiades Christoforou, of the Administration of the Naval Base

* Sailor (National Guard) Christakis Christoforou, of the Administration of the Naval Base

* Sergeant of the Fire Department 3591 Andreas Papadopoulos

* Fireman 74 Vassilis Krokos

* Fireman 2446 Spyros Ttantis

* Fireman 3520 Panayiotis Theofilou

* Chief fireman 3311 Georgos Yiakoumi

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Relatives ask: how could this happen?

IN TOTAL, 12 men, six sailors and six firemen were killed and 62 injured in the explosion that ripped through the heart of the Evangelos Florakis naval base.

By 3pm 10 of the 12 victims had been identified. Of the 62 injured 50 had received first aid at the island’s hospitals and been released while the remaining 12 were kept in for treatment, two of whom were in critical condition at Limassol general hospital.

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Uncontrollable grief at Limassol hospital

THERE IS nothing quite as gut-wrenching as the raw unfettered human grief which was  only too apparent at Limassol General hospital yesterday morning, in the wake of the explosion which tore through the army base and surrounding areas at Zygi.

As worried relatives arrived by the dozen, anxious for  news of their loved ones, pressurised hospital staff, with the help of the police tried to ensure the atmosphere remained calm.

A police cordon was set up at the front of the building and ambulances arrived from the scene of the explosion, transporting many of the injured for emergency treatment.

Lighter injuries included burns, cuts, lacerations and broken bones.

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Terror and confusion in villages around naval base

EYEWITNESSES of the devastation caused by yesterday’s huge blast which ripped through the Evangelos Florakis naval base in the Limassol district could only speak of their terror and confusion as their homes, cars and lives were turned upside down.

“I was on the highway… there was a lot of fog and then it was like a bomb hit the car,” said a middle aged Limassol woman. “I stopped the car and got out. There was glass and debris everywhere. It was destroyed…. I don’t know what happened… I can’t explain it… there was debris in the air,” she said, waving her arms in the air.

The woman’s husband said he’d received a call from his wife just after the blast occurred.

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‘What kind of government keeps and arms dump next to a power station?’

CYPRUS Mail contributor Hermes Solomon was among those who witnessed the devastation as it occurred from only a kilometre away at Governor’s Beach.  “It felt like living in the Blitz,” he said.

Speaking from the Kalymnos motor home complex at the beach, Solomon described the intense fear felt by residents, some of whom had lost their homes as a result.

“Several homes are undoubtedly irreparably damaged, and the site restaurant is completely destroyed,” said Solomon, “windows and doors were blown out, and some car roofs caved in completely.”

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150 Mari residents left without shelter as homes destroyed

MOTHER OF three Eleni Toubi was trying to make sense of what had happened, standing on shards of glass in the hallway of her home at Mari, the village nearest to the site of the huge explosion.

Windows and doors shattered, the roof of the house damaged.

“We were sleeping when we heard a huge explosion. I got out of bed immediately to check on the children,” she said.

No one was injured in her household but a relative nearby sustained head injuries and was rushed to hospital.

Her 12-year-old daughter hid under the covers after hearing the blast.

“I was scared,” Stella said.

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