Magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes Greece

ATHENS, Greece
Published 17.11.2015 09:26
Updated 17.11.2015 11:34

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 6.1 hit the western Greek island of Lefkada on Tuesday, with local reports indicating buildings had been damaged and one person had been killed.

The temblor was felt across western Greece, with people on Lefkada and nearby Ionian Sea island of Kefalonia rushing out into the streets. The fire department said it was sending crews to Lefkada to assess the situation.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 and occurred at 9:10 a.m. (0710 GMT) off Greece's western mainland, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) west of Athens. The U.S. Geological Survey put the preliminary magnitude at 6.5. Different agencies often have varying preliminary magnitudes in the hours and sometimes days after a quake.

Authorities had received reports of one woman killed by the collapse of a wall in her workplace, Ionian Islands Regional Governor Theodoros Galiatsatos said on state-run television ERT. He said there were reports of damage to the island's road network from landslides, and authorities were waiting for more detailed information from the fire department. Aftershocks were also hitting the island, and Galiatsatos called on residents to avoid any structures that appeared damaged until authorities could assess their safety.

The fire department was sending crews from western Greece to the island to assess the damage and help in cleanup efforts.

Earthquakes are common in Greece, which is one of the world's most seismically active areas, though serious injuries and deaths are rare. More than 100 people died in a severe quake near Athens in 1999.

The Ionian is particularly seismically active, and new buildings on the area's islands are constructed to strict anti-seismic standards. Kefalonia was struck by a series of strong earthquakes, two of them with magnitudes of around 6, in January 2014, causing damage and minor injuries but no fatalities.

Those temblors awakened memories of catastrophic 1953 quakes that flattened nearly all the islands' structures, killing hundreds of people.

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