Earthquake kills woman, destroys houses on Lesbos

Powerful 6.2 magnitude tremor causes extensive structural damage on parts of Greek island and is also felt in Turkey.

People stand among damaged buildings at the village of Vrissa on the Greek island of Lesbos, Greece, after a strong earthquake shook the eastern Aegean
People stand among damaged buildings at the village of Vrisa [Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters]

A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 badly damaged scores of homes on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos Monday, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 people.

The tremor at around 3:28pm (12:28 GMT) on Monday was also felt on neighbouring islands and in Athens, the capital of Greece, as well as in western Turkey, including Istanbul.

Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos and the fire service said the woman, who was 45 years old, was found dead in the southern village of Vrisa that was worst-hit by the quake, which had its epicentre under the sea, at a shallow depth of seven kilometres.

“Most houses in Vrisa have suffered severe damage,” Galinos said, adding that afflicted residents were being relocated to temporary housing set up in a football field in a nearby village.

At least 10 people were injured in the village. Local authorities and the fire service said there were no reports of other people trapped or missing.

Earlier, rescuers pulled out an elderly couple alive from their damaged home in Vrisa.

There was no reported damage or injuries at refugee camps on Lesbos or the nearby island of Chios. Both islands saw a major influx of migrants leaving from Turkey in 2015, and about 8,000 remain in limbo in Lesbos and Chios as they await news on their asylum applications.

At least 25 aftershocks were recorded following the initial quake.

The tremor was also felt in densely populated Istanbul and the western Turkish province of Izmir, but no injuries were reported there.

The governor of Greece’s north Aegean region told state-run ERT television that “we’re using all the resources we have to help the people in southern Lesbos.”

“The army is also helping, and will provide tents for people remaining outside their homes,” Christiana Kalogirou said. “They will be able to stay in sports facilities.”

Lesbos authorities said homes were also damaged in the village of Plomari and some roads were closed. No severe damage was reported on nearby islands.

“We are advising residents in affected areas of Lesbos to remain outdoors until buildings can be inspected,” senior seismologist Efthimios Lekkas said.

Earthquakes are frequent in Greece and Turkey, which are on active fault lines. Two devastating earthquakes hit northwestern Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people. Experts in both countries said more aftershocks are to be expected.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies