Valley’s Greek population watches as family, friends caught in quake

Boats that crashed on top of each other in the harbor in Bodrum, Turkey, in the overnight earthquake are seen, Friday, July 21, 2017. A powerful earthquake sent a building crashing down on tourists at a bar on the Greek holiday island of Kos and struck panic on the nearby shores of Turkey early Friday, killing people and injuring some 200 people. (Yasar Anter/DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WYTV) – The Valley’s Greek population is watching closely after an earthquake rumbled through the country’s coastal region.

The earthquake hit about seven miles off the island of Kos, a popular tourist destination.

That nation and the island have a strong connection with people living in Campbell, who have been watching reports of what’s going on.

“I didn’t sleep at all because I was very worried. My friend Irene called me at home, and it was still going on,” said Penelope Hazimihalis, of Campbell.

Two tourists were killed and hundreds more injured. Some were caught beneath collapsed buildings, while Greece’s fire service rescued three people from a damaged building.

Historic parts of the island’s Old Town crumbled, and the main port was damaged.

The 6.7 magnitude quake had panicked diners running for safety and hospital patients hiding under desks. Most were afraid to be inside, so they slept in parking lots and on sun beds along the beach.

“The whole night, they were staying outside and they were kind of panicking, and I was worried for all my friends and relatives still down there,” Hazimihalis said.

Luckily, Hazimihalis’ family is safe, and no one was hurt.

Tom Psaras, of Campbell, was born on the island of Kalymnos, next to Kos. He said it’s an earthquake-prone zone. In fact, it’s the second strong earthquake along the coast in recent weeks.

Psaras was there just two weeks ago.

“Some of the ancient structures that I just happened to see on some photos, church domes and such, seem to have been destroyed,” he said.

There have also been more than 100 aftershocks, plus a 2-foot sea swell that tossed around boats.

Greece has struggled with financial difficulties, and now the country is dealing with another challenging situation.

Psaras said is optimistic, however.

“They have historically come together and rebuilt and get back with their lives as soon as possible. It’s what we do,” he said.