Strong quake near Athens sparks fear

Strong quake near Athens sparks fear

Some power cuts after 5.1 quake but no reports of injuries so far

Tourists hug each other in Syntagma square after a strong earthquake near Athens on Friday. (AP photo)
Tourists hug each other in Syntagma square after a strong earthquake near Athens on Friday. (AP photo)

ATHENS: A strong earthquake struck near the Greek capital of Athens on Friday, causing residents to run into the streets in fear and firefighters to check for people trapped in elevators.

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics gave the earthquake a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 but the US Geological Survey tagged it as a magnitude of 5.3. The Athens Institute says the quake struck at 2.13pm local time (6.13pm Thailand time) some 23 kilometres north of Athens.

Authorities inspected areas close to the epicentre by helicopter and police patrols but no deaths or serious injuries were reported. Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said one abandoned building had collapsed in a western district of Athens and that several other abandoned buildings had suffered serious damages in other parts of the city.

“There are no reports of serious injuries … I urge members of the public to remains calm, in Greece we are well acquainted with earthquakes,” he said.

The quake caused limited power cuts and communication problems around Athens and the fire brigade reported receiving calls about people being trapped in elevators. The shock was caught live in the studios of state broadcaster ERT.

The most powerful quake to hit the Greek capital in the last 20 years came in 1999, when a temblor of magnitude 6.0 caused extensive damage and killed more than 140 people.

Gerasimos Papadopoulos, the senior seismologist at the Geodynamics Institute said Friday’s quake was felt across southern Greece.

“It had a very shallow depth and that’s why it was felt so strongly,” he said. “It is too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, but there have been aftershocks of magnitude 3.5, 2.5 and 3.2 and that is encouraging. But we need more time and data to have a clear picture.”

Earthquakes are common in Greece and neighbouring Turkey.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

RCEP talks want India back

With India appearing to have exited the RCEP, negotiators remain committed to bringing the country back into the fold as an "indispensable" member of the deal.

06:41

Somkid concerned about exports amid global unease

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak's top concerns for next year are exports and confidence amid global economic uncertainties.

06:31

REIC upbeat on impact of latest property tax perks

The recent property tax incentives are expected to help drain housing inventory by 2.4% in the final two months of the year...

06:11