An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck central Greece on Wednesday, sending people rushing from their houses but drawing no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage.
One man was injured by falling debris and fire fighters had to rescue six people from collapsed houses in Mesochori, including a tetraplegic man, according to state-run broadcaster ERT.
The quake, which was felt across Greece and as far as the Balkans, struck close to Tyrnavos, a town about 230 km north of Athens, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The USGS said the magnitude was 6.3, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) put it 6.2, revising earlier reports that suggested the tremor was as much as 6.9.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute reported that the quake struck 16 minutes after noon, at a depth of 10 kilometers. It was followed by three aftershocks measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale (12.19 pm), 4.2 (12.26 pm) and 4.9 (12.34 pm).
“I have never experienced anything like this before, I immediately left the house,” a citizen in Larissa region, in central Greece, told ERT state television.
Nikos Gatsas, mayor of the town of Elassona which lies north of the epicenter, told ERT that walls of old houses had collapsed in nearby villages. One village school in Damasi had also sustained minor damage. All pupils had been evacuated from the building and there were no injuries.
Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, wrote on Twitter that he had contacted the Director of the primary school in Damasi, Grigoris Letsios, and thanked him for looking after the students.
“He and his colleagues, during the earthquake, evacuated the school with its 63 students in an exemplary manner. I congratulate them and thank them for their professionalism and composure,” Mitsotakis wrote.
Greek authorities activate earthquake plan:
Greece’s civil protection agency has activated its earthquake plan for addressing the consequences of earthquakes – dubbed Engelados.
The strategy means the fire department, Greek Police (ELAS), the ambulance service (EKAV), Special Disaster Unit (EMAK) and local health centers will remain on alert until the effects of the earthquake are evaluated.
A number of EMAK drones are flying over the affected area to map any landslides or building collapses.
Turkish Foreign Minister conveys solidarity over the phone to Greek counterpart:
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, on Wednesday to express his country’s solidarity to Greece following the strong tremor.
Cavusoglu also expressed his country’s readiness to offer support, if the need arose, it added.
Present during the conversation was also Georgia’s Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, who also expressed his solidarity and support.