An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 5.8 struck the Greek island of Crete on Monday, killing one person and wounding several others, as well as destroying homes and churches and generating rock falls.
People fled onto the streets of Heraklion, and schools were evacuated as a result of the earthquake. Aftershocks shook the area, causing more damage in settlements surrounding the epicenter.
The quake struck around 9:17 a.m. (0617 GMT), with an epicenter 246 kilometers (153 miles) south southeast of Athens, according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute.
“This is not an event that occurred without warning. We have seen activity in this region for several months. This was a strong earthquake, it was not under sea but under land and affecting populated areas,” seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos said on Greece’s state broadcaster ERT.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center and the United States Geological Survey assigned a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 to the earthquake, which struck seven kilometers (four miles) north of Thrapsano. It was 5.8 degrees, according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute. In the hours and days following an earthquake, it’s usual for different seismological institutes to give differing magnitudes.
According to reports from local authorities, one person was killed and nine others were injured, according to Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry. The circumstances surrounding the death and injury were not immediately known.
“The earthquake was strong and was long in duration,” Heraklion mayor Vassilis Lambrinos told private Antenna television. “We have requested that schools are evacuated. The children are out in the playgrounds.”
International and domestic flights to Heraklion airport weren’t affected by the quake, while the region’s hoteliers association said there was no serious damage to any hotels in the area, which includes many popular holiday resorts.