On Monday afternoon, an earthquake that registered a magnitude 6.3, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, centered to the south of the Greek island of Lesbos, killed one woman when her house collapsed on her and damaged several other buildings. Lesbos is located in the Aegean Sea, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. Shaking from the undersea earthquake was also felt in Turkey and on mainland Greece.
NPR reported that Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos wrote in a tweet that besides the death of the unidentified woman on the island, the earthquake also damaged most of the houses in Vrissa, a village on Lesbos. In an interview with the local media, according to the BBC, Galinos said it looked like Vrissa had been destroyed “by bombs.”
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the earthquake caused the injuries of ten other people in Vrissa. Mayor Galinas said that one woman was pulled out of a collapsed house, alive, by rescue workers. She was transported to a local hospital where she is receiving medical treatment.
Mayor Galinas stated that residents of Vrissa whose houses are so damaged they cannot stay in them are going to be temporarily housed in the nearby city of Polichnithos, on a football field. The residents who need a way to get to the city will be transported there, according to Galinas.
The Miami Herald reported that many of the roads in Vrissa are “blocked by debris.” Rescue workers successfully rescued an elderly couple from their badly damaged home in the village. There have been no other reports of people who are trapped or missing as a result of the earthquake, according to the fire service and local authorities in Vrissa.
According to the Washington Post, the army is assisting residents who have had to leave their houses because they were damaged. The army is providing tents for some of the displaced residents to temporarily live in while repairs are made to their houses.
According to the state-run radio on Greece, during the earthquake, residents of Lesbos’ capital, Mytilene, waited out in the middle of the city’s streets until the earthquake was over. The government of Greece’s north Aegean region stated that it is doing all it can to provide resources “to the people in southern Lesbos.”
The island of Lesbos houses thousands of refugees in camps, as does another nearby island, Chios. Most of the refugees come to the two islands via Turkey. There are a total of about 8,000 refugees combined on the two islands.
The 6.3 magnitude undersea earthquake was also felt in Turkey, but the state-run news agency Anadolu reported that there were “no casualties” in the city of Izmir, on the Turkish coast. Many residents of the city were scared by the trembling and ran outside of buildings, worried that they might collapse.
The earthquake was felt as far away as Istanbul, located in western Turkey, and on other islands in the Aegean Sea. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management reported that the initial earthquake occurred at 3:28 p.m. and it had a shallow epicenter of four miles (seven kilometers). There were a minimum of 25 aftershocks recorded, and more are expected to follow. Earthquakes in both Greece and Turkey are relatively frequent, as both are on fault lines that are active.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy A.O.C.G.P.O. “Exercitus Christi” Headquarters