5.1-magnitude quake shakes Athens
19 Jul 2019, 21:06 ( 1 Month ago)
The Greek state mechanism has been put on alert and there was no cause for alarm, Greek officials said after an earthquake measuring 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale shook Athens on Friday.
No serious injuries or major damages were reported and Acropolis and other treasures in museums and archaeological sites were intact, officials said, as several aftershocks measuring 3 to 4.4 have been recorded by scientists.
According to the Geodynamic Institute of the Athens Observatory, which revised downwards an earlier estimate of 5.3 on the Richter scale given by the Euro Mediterranean Seismic Center, the tremor's epicenter was located in western Attica, about 23 kilometers northwest of the Greek capital at about 10 kilometers depth.
No casualties or serious injuries were reported, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced, but only temporary problems in telecommunications and power cuts. which were restored a few hours later.
According to estimates in the first minutes after the quake, 20,000 telephone calls per second were made, as people were trying to contact relatives and friends to make sure they were safe, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
"There is no cause for alarm. The city withstood the test and will withstand it in the future," General Secretary of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias stressed after a meeting at the Fire Brigade's headquarters, according to the Greek news portal in.gr.
The state mechanism will remain on alert for at least 48 hours after the tremor, he stressed.
Limited material damages were reported by authorities and local media, mainly to old abandoned buildings in the centre of the Greek capital and across wider Attica region.
Petsas and Hardalias verified the collapse of two uninhabited buildings in Piraeus port suburbs, as well as damages in buildings in various suburbs of Athens. Teams of experts have been dispatched to investigate reports of minor cracks in buildings across Attica, according to AMNA.
Several residents of Athens and tourists evacuated public and private buildings as a precaution.
Museums and archaeological sites were also evacuated and preliminary inspections by experts showed no significant damages on the Acropolis hill, sites and museums, according to a press statement by the Culture Ministry.
The ministry reported that mainly parts of wall plaster fell in some museums, without causing injuries. A similar incident was reported inside the Greek parliament, according to AMNA.
A tourist was lightly injured when part of wall plaster fell from a building in the center of Athens, local daily newspaper Kathimerini reported.
Many Greek experts assured that this was the main earthquake. Seismology Professor Akis Tselentis, speaking on local SKAI radio, supported this view, while others such as Gerassimos Papadopoulos said that they will be more confident to say whether this was the main earthquake on Saturday, after following the rest of the seismic activity pattern.