Powerful earthquake strikes Greece and Turkey, injuring 10 people and causing severe damage
A powerful earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale has struck the Aegean coast of western Turkey and several Greek islands, injuring 10 people and causing massive damage.
The epicenter of the quake was 5 km (3 miles) south of Plomari, a town on the coast of Lesbos, the US Geological Survey said. Several buildings were damaged but the village of Vrisa was worst hit with 10 people taken to hospital.
The initial quake struck at 15:28 (12:28 GMT) on Monday and was followed by two aftershocks minutes later.
Details of damage and casualties in Vrisa took some time to emerge, but the mayor told Greek media the place looked like it had been “flattened by bombs”. A woman was trapped in the rubble of her home reportedly with a fractured spine. None of the injuries were said to be life-threatening.
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 information we have is that there are 10 injuries,” Christiana Kalogirou said. “The army is also helping, and will provide tents for people remaining outside their homes. They will be able to stay in sports facilities.”
The worst damage was reported in the southern village of Vrisa – where at least 10 people were injured. Firefighters freed an elderly couple from a damaged home and were struggling to get a trapped woman out of another house in the village. Several old buildings collapsed, and rubble blocked roads in Vrisa.
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.