Negligence charged in Cyprus explosion

NICOSIA, Cyprus, July 12 (UPI) -- A huge explosion that knocked out Cyprus' main power station was the result of "criminal negligence," a victim's son says.

Monday's blast at the Evangelos Florakis naval base at Mari killed navy chief Andreas Ioannides, the base commander and 10 others and injured more than 60.


Ioannides' son, Nicolas, accused authorities of "criminal negligence" for leaving 98 containers of explosives -- seized by the U.S. Navy from a ship sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009 -- "for 2 1/2 years under the sun, wind, cold, all these weather conditions without doing anything," the Cyprus Mail reported.

He said his father pleaded for their removal but was ignored by the government.

Defense Minister Costas Papacostas and National Guard chief Petros Tsalikidis resigned within hours of the disaster.

Some 150 nearby residents will need emergency shelter for several days, officials said.

The Electricity Authority said Tuesday damage to the Vassiliko power plant, which provides 60 percent of the country's electricity, will take months to repair, and residents can expect blackouts.

The island's desalination plants had to be shut down, forcing water rationing.

Greece is sending a mobile generator to help, Greek news site said.


The Famagusta Gazette reported Tuesday there was an online petition calling for President Demetris Christofias to resign.

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