Crete earthquake: a 6.3-magnitude earthquake strikes a Greek island
The Geodynamic Institute in Athens said the earthquake occurred under the sea off the eastern coast of the island. A tsunami warning was reportedly issued by the Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization, but officials were careful to stress that the warning was “nothing alarming.”
There were no immediate reports of damage, but authorities said police and firefighters were checking buildings in eastern Crete for damage. CCTV of the earthquake, from inside stores on the island, shows products crashing on the floor from display stands and employees running out of buildings to safety.
According to the Institute of Geodynamics, the earthquakes of magnitude 4.1 and 4.5, which are believed to have come after the shocks, occurred minutes later.
A Briton in Crete said everything was fine after the earthquake, adding that it sounded like a “strange swaying of the earth”. She said: “Friends who live in Kos felt it too. Its center was apparently off the island of Crete.”
Writing on the website of the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center, a resident from the town of Annalipsi near Heraklion said: “Severe tremor. The whole house side by side shook at least 15 cm. It lasted about 20 seconds.”
“For a long time, even people driving their cars felt it,” said another resident of the same area. The earthquake was also felt by residents on the Greek islands east of Crete, including Karpathos, Cassos and Rhodes.
“The earthquake was felt all over the island,” the deputy regional governor of Crete, Yiannis Londarakis, told state-run Radio Greece. He added: “This has caused concern because we are still feeling aftershocks from the previous earthquake.
“Fortunately there does not appear to be any serious damage despite the fact that it was a powerful event and occurred at a shallow depth.”
The Deputy Director of the Geodynamic Institute, Vassilis Karastathis, explained the tsunami warning to the Greek media, saying: “There is always an announcement when there is a strong earthquake at sea … With a tsunami, we do not have time to wait until we see all the data from the warning systems, so we send the announcement good or bad.”
Schools closed at around midday local time on Tuesday due to the earthquake. “Given the magnitude of the earthquake, significant aftershocks are likely to occur. Principals are royally requested to ensure the safe departure of students by activating relevant protocols,” the statement read.
Videos showed traffic jams outside schools as children were evacuated and parents came to pick them up.
Hundreds of people from villages south of Heraklion, the island’s largest city, are still homeless after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on September 27.
The September earthquake killed one person, identified locally as Yakovos Tsagarakis, 65, after the dome of the church he was working to restore collapsed.
According to Protothema, his son was one of many other injured, but he was able to call emergency services for help.