Strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattles Greek island

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 3:44pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 3:44pm

A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the Greek island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea early on Monday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The quake hit at 5.08am with its epicentre just 12 kilometres from the town of Lixourion, 300 kilometres west of Athens, the USGS said.

Local police and emergency services said that there were no victims of the latest quake but damage to roads and some buildings had been recorded due to rock falls on the island of 35,000 inhabitants.

A hospital official interviewed by the private Skai channel said four people had been admitted with minor injuries.

“We’ll have to wait to get a precise picture of the damage caused. People went out onto the streets but residents are calm on the whole,” the island’s mayor Alexandros Parisis said by phone.

One resident living in a village a few kilometres from Lixourion told Skai the quake had cut their power and water supply and that most of the townsfolk had ran out of their houses and were on the streets.

The quay at Lixourion town was also damaged.

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the same region on January 26, damaging hundreds of buildings, after which a state of emergency was declared on the island.

That quake, felt on several Ionian islands and as far away as Athens, was followed by numerous aftershocks last week.

The Athens observatory put the latest quake at 5.7 on the Richter scale.

Cephalonia has previously been struck on several occasions and in August 1953 virtually every house on the island was destroyed during a major earthquake.

The island was also the setting for the popular novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, about a second world war romance between an Italian soldier and a local woman. A 2001 movie of the same name, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, was filmed there.

Greece is one of Europe’s most earthquake-prone countries.