Naval Base Blast Victims Named - Police
The victims of today's deadly explosion in Evangelos Florakis naval base in Zygi have been named by police. They include 19-year-old twin brothers Miltiades and Christakis Christoforou from Limassol, who served on the base, and five firefighters who perished as they took part in the rescue operation earlier today.
Navy Commander Andreas Ioannides and second-in-command Lambros Lambrou were both killed in the blast, along with Kleanthos Kleanthis, and Michalis Erakleous, all of whom served on the base.
Firefighters Andreas Papadopoulos, Vassilis Krokos, Spiros Tantis, Panayiotis Theophilou, Georgios Yiakoumi and Adamos Adamou all died in the explosion.
Authorities said that absolute confirmation of their identities will be made after DNA testing.
Minister of Defence Costas Papacostas and chief of the Cyprus National Guard Petros Tsalikidis have resigned in the wake of a national disaster caused by the massive explosion at the base.
Their resignations have been accepted by President Demetris Christofias.
So far, 12 people have been reported killed and dozens injured in the blast. Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said that the rescue operation is now over and all the fires have been extinguished.
Described by President Demetris Christofias as a catastrophe of 'biblical proportions', the explosion caused fires in nearby Vassiliko power station, which bore the main brunt of the shockwave. There are electricity blackouts in Nicosia, Limassol, and the Larnaca region and the electricity plant is not expected to be back in operation today.
Three generators, two from Greece and one from Israel, are set to be transported to Cyprus to help the Electricity Authority deal with the crisis.
The explosion happened at 5:55am and was caused by munitions stored in containers on the base. On July 6th, the naval base reported that the containers with high explosives were expanding in the heat, and were warned by the fire services to destroy them because they were dangerous. According to the government spokesman, the order was given to destroy the explosives, but authorities did not have the time to carry it out.
The munitions were confiscated by Cyprus authorities in 2009 after they were found on a Cypriot-flagged ship travelling from Iran to Syria, breaking UN sanctions.
Nationwide messages are going out to Cypriots appealing for them to save electricity and give blood to help the victims of the blast. There are growing fears over the water supply. With the electricity blackouts, only around 60 percent of the island is receiving water, said the Water Board.