UK & World News

  • 3 February 2014, 15:38

Kefalonia Hit By Second Earthquake In A Week

People on Kefalonia have been gripped with panic after a new, powerful earthquake shook the Greek island for a second time in a week.

The authorities said at least 10 people on the island, which was the setting for the novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, have been taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

No one was reported to have been seriously hurt.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute measured the quake, which struck before dawn, at 5.7 while US experts registered it as magnitude 6.1.

The quake was initially reported as 6.4 in magnitude, and struck 76 miles (122 km) west of Patras at a relatively shallow depth of 8.5 miles (13.7 km) at 5.08am local time, the United States Geological Survey said.

In Kefalonia it left a church with a teetering steeple, hospital walls demolished, roads strewn with boulders from landslides and scores of buildings scarred with cracks.

It came a week after more than 100 homes were damaged by an earthquake of the same scale.

That one forced schools to shut down and old age homes to be evacuated, turning sprawling untouched buildings, even cruise ships, into makeshift shelters.

It also forced local tourist chiefs to put out an urgent appeal to potential visitors assuring them the island was open for business.

On Monday, panic-stricken residents were seen fleeing their homes and shelters again as the early morning earthquake, originating from the same epicentre, triggered numerous aftershocks measuring over 4.0 magnitude.

Kostas Papazahos, a leading seismologist with the University of Thessaloniki, said: "It is very difficult to make an realistic assessment about the immediate future.

"These post tremor shocks are bound to continue, most likely of the same intensity.

"We have to be cautious."

Authorities on the island said they were remaining on red alert after the government last week declared a state of emergency for Kefalonia, which is among the country's most popular tourist destinations.

Deputy mayor Evangelos Kekkatos said schools would be closed again and special crews ordered to inspect homes and buildings across the island to assess the extent of damages caused by Monday's shake.

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