17 March, 2008
Five people, including two children, injured seriously in a string of explosions at an Albanian army base were being treated in Thessaloniki hospitals on Sunday.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis spoke by phone on Saturday with his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha and extended assistance by Greece, after a string of large explosions earier in the day at the army base near Tirana, where obsolete munitions destined for destruction were stored, which killed at least five people and injured more than 250.
A Hellenic Army C-130 personnel carrier took off for Albania on Saturday night, transporting vials of blood, medical personnel and equipment, while military and civilian hospitals were put on alert for the treatment of injured people.
Although the official count was 5 persons killed, there were fears that the death toll could reach 60.
Karamanlis spoke with Berisha on Saturday evening, assuring him that Greece was prepared to provide assistance if required, and ordered the relevant ministries to facilitate any assistance required.
The Albanian prime minister informed his Greek counterpart that the treatment of injured people in Greek hospitals might be necessary.
Meanwhile, the National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) announced that a C-130 carrying blood, medical personnel and equipment was taking off for Albania on Saturday night, while the military hospitals in Athens and Ioannina had also been placed on alert.
Two children and three adults, all Albanian citizens, are being treated in Thessaloniki, where they were transported at dawn Sunday by the returning C-130 and then rushed to the Papageorgiou and Ippokration hospitals.
A three-year-old girl and the three adults, aged 32, 53 and 54, were being treated at the Papageorgiou hospital, while another little girl, aged 6, who lost her right hand in the blasts, was being reated in the Intensive Care Unit at the Ippokration Hospital.
According to the attending physicians, the 32-year-old and 54-year old underwent several hours of surgery, due to multiple injuries in their lower extremities.
None of the five were in a life-threatening condition.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Sunday sent a message of condolences to his Albanian counterpart Bamir Topi, for the victims of the deadly explosion which occurred at an ammunition factory outside the capital of Tirana on Saturday.
Source: Athens News Agency