The Greek island of Crete was shaken by an earthquake measuring at least 5.8. Dozens of people were injured, houses and churches took damage, The Guardian reports, citing data from local authorities and seismologists.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake struck at 9:17 a.m. (6:17 a.m. GMT) with an epicenter of 246 km (153 miles) south/southeast of the Greek capital, Athens. It was followed by numerous aftershocks in the area. The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) rated some of them at 4.6 points.
A seismologist at Imperial College London, Dr Stephen Hicks described the earthquake as the most powerful since 1959.
Vacationers at resorts near Heraklion, which is especially popular with British tourists, began to leave hotels after the earthquake.
The disaster damaged hundreds of homes on the streets of towns and villages, including more than half in the Arkalohori area. 20 people were hospitalized with injuries.
Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Defense of Greece Christos Stylianides announced the death of one person. According to authorities, the man was pulled from the rubble of a partially destroyed Orthodox church in the village of Arkalokhori, near the epicenter of the earthquake. The victim was a 65-year-old builder who was working inside the building when the roof collapsed on him.
A state of emergency has been declared in the area of the natural disaster.
Head of the Greek organization for earthquake planning and protection, professor at the Faculty of Geology and Geoecology of the University of Athens Efthymios Lekkas urged people who lived in damaged old buildings built before 1970 to stay on the streets.
Civil defense officials began setting up tents with a total capacity of up to 2,500 people for residents whose homes were damaged. The fire service sent 30 of its staff to Crete with search dogs and specialized rescue equipment. All emergency response units and fire services in Crete were brought to a state of general combat readiness.
As it was reported earlier, a strong earthquake of 5.0 magnitude occurred in Greece on January 19, 2020.