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A state of emergency in Kefalonia

27 January 2014 / 15:01:45  GRReporter
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The Greek government has announced a state of emergency on the largest island in the Ionian Sea following the earthquake of 5.9 on the Richter scale that took place at around 4:15 pm on Sunday. It caused no casualties and injuries, only material damage.

Today, the schools and kindergartens in the area will not open and the measure has been imposed in order to assess the damage and help those affected by the earthquake. Minister of the Interior Yiannis Michelakis, who arrived on the island hours after the earthquake, states that the technical teams, under the guidance of engineers, have been inspecting the buildings since morning.

They will inspect the buildings of hospitals, health centres, schools and government agencies working around the clock first. Schools will remain closed until the teams verify their stability. Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis says the teams have already examined the two hospitals on the island and established no problems. The Kefalonia police report that the strong quake has caused damage to the buildings in the region of Lixouri. Fallen roofs, cracks in walls, fallen chimneys, broken windows and shop windows have been registered in Argostoli.

According to sources, more than 600 people spent the night on board the Superfast 11 ship, which had arrived at the port for this purpose. The majority of them were students at the local college who were frightened by the strength of the earthquake.

By 9 am on Monday, the seismologists had registered 45 aftershocks of 3 to 5.1 on the Richter scale, none of them being convinced that yesterday's earthquake was the main one nor that there could be another earthquake. "Fortunately, we had dozens, even hundreds, of aftershocks and this indicates a decreased seismic activity. The magnitude of more than 20 shocks was over 4.5 on the Richter scale and that of hundreds below it. Their depth was about 10 kilometres," professor of geology at Athens University Efthimios Lekas states for a Greek TV, stressing that the earthquake on Sunday was not due to the fault that had caused the devastating earthquakes in 1953.

Between 9 August and 12 August 1953, the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca suffered successive earthquakes of 6.4, 6.8 and 7.2 on the Richter scale. 27,659 out of 33,000 houses on the islands were totally destroyed, 455 people died, 21 were not found and the number of injured people reached 2,412.

At the same time, according to preliminary data from the Geophysical Institute at Thessaloniki Aristotle University, the length of the fault that caused the earthquake on Sunday was 15-20 kilometres. The seismic zone covered almost the entire area of ​​Paliki peninsula where the epicentre of the earthquake was registered. According to seismologists at the Institute, its length corresponded to the scale of the main shock. They state in a message that the earthquake had started in the southern part of the seismic zone and then moved to the north.

Tags: SocietyEarthquakeKefaloniaState of emergencyDamageSeismologists
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