Two killed, 100 injured in Greek quake


Athens : A major earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck south-western Greece Sunday, killing two people and injuring at least 100, officials said.

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Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said one man was discovered dead under a collapsed roof in the village of Kato Achaia, near the epicentre, while a 80-year-old woman died from her injuries in hospital after her home collapsed.

“We have two dead as a result of the earthquake,” Pavlopoulos said. “There are many injured and emergency forces are at the scene.”

Many of those admitted to hospital had suffered light injuries and were released, he said. The interior ministry said nine people remained in hospital. Some were injured when they jumped from balconies in panic and were struck by flying glass.

One person, who had been lying on a beach on the Ionion island of Lefkada, was injured by falling rocks.

Emergency crews rescued seven people who had been trapped in collapsed homes in the villages of Fostaina and Vartholomio, approximately 30 kilometres south of Patra.

Pavlopoulos said more than 50 homes collapsed when the strong quake struck the western Peloponnese.

The epicentre of the quake was put at some 35 kilometres north-east of the port city of Patras, some 150 kilometres west of Athens and had a depth of 10 kilometres.

The national highway connecting the capital Athens with Patras was cut off after falling rocks spilled onto the road. An air force base in the town of Andravida was damaged.

The earthquake, which was felt as far away as southern Italy, the northern port city of Thessaloniki, the Ionion islands and Athens, caused panicked residents to rush out onto the streets.

The director of the Athens Geodynamical Institute Gerassimos Papadopoulos said he expected more aftershocks in the area, but told people not to panic.

“There will be more aftershocks but this is a natural phenomenon,” he said.

Television reports showed many residents, too scared to return to their homes, preparing tents with the intention of spending the night outdoors and in cars.

In January, a 6.5 earthquake struck the Peloponnese but no deaths were reported. The last deadly earthquake to hit Greece was in 1999, which killed 143 people.