‘It was a difficult night’: Residents uneasy as aftershocks rattle quake-hit Crete

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By Panagiotis Dalatariof

Aftershocks continue to rattle Greece’s largest island Crete two days after a strong earthquake that killed one-person, damaged hundreds of buildings and left many homeless.

The strongest tremor was measured at 5.3 magnitude at 7:48 a.m. (0448 GMT) on Tuesday, the Athens observatory said, as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis prepared to visit the area.

A preliminary inspection has shown around a thousand buildings were damaged in Monday’s quake, which struck at a depth of just 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

The epicentre was near the agricultural town of Arkalochori, where a man was killed inside a church that collapsed and nearly a dozen other people were injured.

Authorities have put up tents to host hundreds of people whose homes are deemed unsafe to return to at present, and have also made dozens of hotel rooms available.

‘A very difficult night’

Iraklio resident and tourism small business owner Dimitris Marathianos said that “it was a very difficult night.”

“The situation is better here compared to Arkalochori in terms of damages but the aftershocks are strong and keep us awake all night. People spend the nights outside of their homes because they don’t feel safe,” Marathianos told The Greek Herald.

Mr Marathianos also expressed concerns that the quakes might affect the tourism industry.

“Most tourists are terrified. The hotels are busy and I hope this nightmare ends soon so we can keep working to make up for the lockdowns we went through and the reduced traffic we experienced this summer,” he said. 

Iraklio resident, Iraklis Zografakis

Another Iraklio resident and coffee shop owner Iraklis Zografakis said that the government mechanism was mobilised quickly and tents have been set up in the area for the families who lost their homes. 

“The earth shakes and we can’t relax here at Iraklio. Our children are safe because schools are closed but we are on high alert.”

Local residents Maria Liondou and Katerina Kalaitzaki say that “they hope the worse has passed.”

Message of support from the Cretans of Australia and New Zealand 

In a letter to their fellow Cretans who are going through difficult times Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand say they will support their home country. 

“The President Mr. Antonis Tsourdalakis and the Board of Directors of the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand express their full support to the people of Crete for the recent earthquake that hit our island,” reads the letter.

“The Cretan Associations of Oceania and all the Cretans of Australia are on the side of the earthquake victims and will support our compatriots in any way requested. We pray to God to protect the inhabitants of the island, to keep them well and give them strength to face the current situation.

“We hope that there will be no further seismic vibrations and that the wounds left by the eclipse will be dealt with immediately by the state.

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