An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 5.8 shook the Greek island of Crete on Monday, killing one person and injuring several others, while damaging houses and churches and triggering rockslides near the country’s fourth-largest city. .
The earthquake caused people to flee to the streets of the city of Heraklion and schools were evacuated. Repeated aftershocks rocked the area, adding damage to villages near the epicenter.
“The earthquake was strong and lasted a long time,” Heraklion Mayor Vassilis Lambrinos told Antenna private television.
The Geodynamic Institute of Athens, which gave a magnitude of 5.8, said the earthquake struck at 9:17 a.m. (0617 GMT), with an epicenter 246 kilometers (153 miles) south-southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.
“This is not an unannounced event. We have seen activity in this region for several months. This was a strong earthquake, it was not under the sea but underground and it affected populated areas, ”said seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos on the Greek state broadcaster ERT.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center and the United States Geological Survey place the preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with an epicenter seven kilometers (four miles) north of the town of Thrapsano. It is common for different seismological institutes to give different magnitudes for an earthquake in the first hours and days after an event.
Greece’s Ministry of Civil Protection and Climate Crisis said one person died and nine others were injured. The man who died was pulled from the rubble of a partially collapsed church in the town of Arkalochori, very close to the epicenter, authorities said.
“It seems that so far we have no fellow citizens trapped,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said during a news conference about three hours after the earthquake.
Seismologist Efthimios Lekkas, who heads Greece’s Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization, said inspections of critical buildings such as schools and hospitals had already started.
“We urge people who live in old damaged buildings to stay outdoors. An aftershock can cause a collapse, ”Lekkas said from Crete. “We are talking about structures built before 1970. Structures built after 1985 are built to a higher standard that can withstand the effect of an earthquake.”
Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides, who traveled to Crete, said measures would be taken for those unable to stay overnight in their homes, potentially including providing hotel rooms. Local media said that hundreds of houses had been damaged.
Strong earthquake hits the Greek island of #Creta; 1 dead, 9 wounded. #Greece #Earthquake
Local officials said they had enough capacity to temporarily house 300 people in tents.
The fire department said it was transporting 30 members of its disaster response units with sniffer dogs and specialized rescue equipment to Crete, while all of its disaster response units and fire department services in Crete were on general alert. .
Numerous aftershocks struck the area, and EMSC gave a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 for the two strongest.
Domestic and international flights to Heraklion airport were unaffected by the earthquake, while the region’s hoteliers association said there was no serious damage to any hotel in the area, which includes many popular resorts.