The state’s emergency infrastructure will remain on alert for 48 hours, however “there is no cause for concern from further earthquakes,” Nikos Chardalias, Civil Protection Secretary General stated following the meeting of the Civil Protection Central Coordination Body.
The agency convened at the Fire Brigade’s Operations Coordinating Centre, in the Athens district of Halandri at 4:30pm.
“The city has withstood (the quake) and will withstand more,” Nikos Chardalias added.
The Athens Institute of Geodynamics gave the earthquake a preliminary magnitude of 5.1, however the U.S. Geological Survey gave it a preliminary magnitude of 5.3.
The quake’s epicentre was recorded at a point 22 km northwest of Athens and was followed by several aftershocks.
The Seismological Center of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said the earthquake which struck at 2:13 p.m, was close to the surface which is why it was widely felt in Athens.
Following the earthquake, the Civil Protection activated all the municipal emergency services to the citizens’ assistance.
It is reported that one tourist received minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Minor structural damages have been recorded to buildings in Athens, including a building located at 90 Ermou Street, which collapsed without causing any injuries.
In Piraeus, an abandoned structure near the E1 Gate which housed a conveyor belt machine, also collapsed.
After the tremor, telecommunication problems were noted, however service has since been restored.
The last major earthquake in Athens occurred in 1999, which left 143 people dead and tens of thousands of buildings damaged. Experts say that todays earthquake was very close to the same epicentre of the magnitude six quake in 1999.
Two Fire Brigade helicopters will continue to patrol the area around the earthquake’s epicentre to observe at high elevations things not easily visible, as part of Civil Protection protocol.
Civil Protection Secretary General Chardalias further stated that “it is a time we have to continue to be on alert and look at the issues of immediate restoration,” so as to be able to respond fast to any such natural phenomenon.
The Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization (OASP) will convene at 10pm on Friday to evaluate the development of seismic activity.
*Source credit: Reuters