Cyclone Ianos devastates Ithaca

Ithaca needs our help
Frikes video shot
Click on image to view video

We are all shocked and deeply saddened to see the devastation suffered on our beautiful Ithaki as a result of the recent Cylone Ianos. Our thoughts are with our families and friends on the island. At this stage, the damage appears widespread and is not limited to the sea-side ports. Homes, businesses, roads, public infrastructure, farmland and olive groves have been damaged, and this will have a long-lasting economic impact on the island. The cyclone has come at a time when the local economy has already suffered from a major fall in tourism due to COVID-19. It is understood that insurance and emergency services are not always available or accessible, and as a result, this may impede the recovery process.

The Ithacan Philanthropic Society Recovery Appeal is open for donations 

The IPS seeks to support the recovery on Ithaca by establishing a Go Fund Me page, in the name of the IPS, with a target of AUD$60,000.

The IPS kick started the fund raising with a donation of AUD$5,000.

 We urge you all to dig deep and show your support for our beloved Ithaca. donate now 

UPDATES FROM NATASHA ANAGNOSTOU, FUNDRAISER COORDINATOR 

Summary of Reports from Ithaca as at 7 October 2020

Cyclone Ianos has been categorised as a cyclone with winds estimated in-excess of 130km/h, waves up to 7 metres high and 365 mm of rain in 28 hours.  Click here to view video of damage caused.

 

Impact

  • No electricity or telephone for 5 days
  • Kioni and Frikes sustained the most damage given their proximity to the water with significant pier, paving and road damage and damage /destruction of outdoor hospitality venues. Other specific damage:
    • Frikes –public seaside seating destroyed, stairs damaged at Kourvoulia No 2 beach making it inaccessible, recently constructed stone wall in front of Dodoni Icecream badly damaged,
    • Kioni – stairs and retaining walls have collapsed in most beaches, significant damage to boats (both fishing and leisure), damage and loss to outdoor hospitality venues
  • Stavros also had some damage, particularly in the park area overlooking Poli Bay – model of Bruno Mazzali’s Odysseus palace and map of Odysseus journey destroyed, tree damage at Poli Beach, roof blown off building where the Dania’s exhibition is currently housed.
  • The township of Vathy was spared any significant damage but there was damage to the courtyard of Aghios Andreas Church and significant road damage on the main road at Dexa and Aetos which leads to the north of of Ithaca
  • Lots and lots of fallen trees and dead/injured livestock (goat & sheep flocks)
  • Building/houses – damage mainly roofing and tile damage

 

Why Ithaca needs the support of government and communities

Tourism

  • Tourism is the major industry that supports the local community. The local community will need to act quickly so as to not impact on tourist’s perceptions that Ithaca should not be a destination in 2021. That includes international tourists, in particular sailing traffic, as well as those from within Greece.
  • Repairs are needed quickly to eliminate the stresses on Ithaca’s ability to promote itself to tourists who will only have heard one message, being that Ithaca has been badly damaged. The flow-on impact of this cannot be under-estimated

Livelihood

  • Businesses in Frikes and Kioni have been severely impacted
  • The only hospitality business open in Frikes now is Dodonis Ice Cream.
  • The local fishing industry has been severely impacted with damage to fishing boats and fishing industry infrastructure, especially in Kioni. We understand that many fishermen are now facing the prospect of having to close their operations for good, such is the extent of the damage to their boats.
  • Earning capacity of goat and sheep farmers who have lost animals affected

The Environment

  • There has been widespread damage to trees throughout Ithaca which will require re-planting in some places to maintain soil rigidity. The slopes of Exoghi and Anoghi are understood to have been badly affected. Land slips are expected across the island as a result and there are already reports of landslips on vacant land that have damaged adjoining houses.
  • Hundreds of fallen trees have blocked paths and must be cleared
  • Beaches have been made inaccessible with collapse of retaining walls and stairs. Repair of these is a top priority as the beaches are a major tourist attraction. If not attended to will create environmental damage as people attempt to find their own way toward them

 

Government support to date

The national government has pledged recovery relief for

  • major roads
  • emergency relief
  • repair of desalinization plants
  • compensation for home appliances

Latest information is that reconstruction of the main road outside of Vathy has already commenced. The bus is now doing the daily run from North Ithaca to Vathy and return, so high school students who have just commenced the school year from the North can go to school. However, where the road is damaged the passengers get off and walk the distance of the damaged road and then get on the bus again.

Also, recently informed that local government is seeking compensation for damage to fishermen’s boats.

  • Unlike Australia, there are few government handouts to groups, industries and communities to assist with disaster recovery.
  • The wheels of local government in Greece turn slowly and it is unlikely that many repairs which are the direct responsibility of the municipality will be carried out quickly or in the near future
  • For home/building repairs, residents have been advised to photograph damage and undertake repairs. Residents will be able to apply for reimbursement at a future date to be advised.
  • Any public infrastructure/amenities damage (eg paving, pathways, lighting, retaining walls, landscaping, outdoor seating, stair access to beach, ramps and boating facilities, tourist attractions, signage) that has been funded by the village Public Benefit Groups (Omiloi) will not be covered by the government funds.

 

What are Public Benefit Groups (Omiloi)?

These are organisations which must be registered with the Ministry of Interior. They are governed by Greek law and their respective constitutions which define the scope of their community activities. They are not for profit organisation which are independent of political and religious allegiances.

In Ithaca, there are 9 Omiloi which are village-based. The scope of their activities varies. Some are focused predominantly on matters relating to the village. Others engage in cultural and other activities which benefit the island as a whole. The following are examples of services provided by the Omiloi:

 

  • Support community groups eg The Philharmonic Orchestra (Omilos Vathi)
  • Administer community services eg Blood Bank (Omilos Perahori)
  • Organise panygyria (festivities)
  • Invest in the village for the benefit of local residents and businesses, tourists eg landscaping, paving, signage outdoor seating, beach access
  • Organise cultural activities eg concerts, and caretake museums and exhibition spaces
  • Maintain communal areas eg parks, cleaning of beaches, pathways
  • Provide welfare services.

 

29 September, 2020

Dear Donors and Friends,
It appears that the worst damage has occurred in the North of Ithaca in the villages of Frikes and Kioni and Stavros.
People have begun the clean-up however it is only now that the extent of the damage is being recognized. Many roads, pathways, stairs, walls and buildings are unsafe. The Government has pledged support for issues such as road construction, however there is a lot of recovery work that will not be covered by government funds.
As much of Ithaca has been built by the locals and not the Government, this is a massive issue for the residents, businesses, and the tourism and fishing industries among others that have been decimated. The IPS is staying in close contact with local authorities who are working hard to restore Ithaca and to determine where the best placements are for your donations.
Could you please share this and if you haven't yet had an opportunity to donate, now would be a great time.
We appreciate your patience, and thank you for supporting our friends and relatives in Ithaca who need our help right now.
Natasha Anagnostou