Emergency services were placed on alert after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit central Greece on Wednesday.
The quake damaged dozens of buildings, including churches, and caused crowds to rush into the streets, though officials said no serious injuries or deaths were reported.
35 aftershocks, some large enough to qualify as significant quakes, have been recored by scientists following Wednesday afternoon’s earthquake.
“The first estimate is 100 damaged buildings. We have no reports on injuries,” Costas Agorastos, regional governor for the broader Thessaly region, told AFP in the village of Damasi, near the epicentre of the quake.
The quake was also felt in neighbouring Albania and North Macedonia, and as far as Kosovo and Montenegro.
Following the earthquake, there were several tales of courageous and narrow escapes.
Grigoris Letsios, the principle of a primary school in Damasi, is just one example.
His quick thinking and actions saved 63 students and 10 teachers from a building that suffered severe damage.
They hid underneath their desks as their school shook, then walked out.
“Everything started shaking and then the blackboard toppled over,” a 10-year-old pupil called Theodora told AFP.
“We ran out after awhile. Nearly all the children were crying and screaming until our parents came to collect us,” she continued.
Επικοινώνησα με τον Διευθυντή του Δημοτικού σχολείου στο Δαμάσι, Γρηγόρη Λέτσιο. Ο ίδιος και οι συνάδελφοί του, κατά την διάρκεια του σεισμού εκκένωσαν με υποδειγματικό τρόπο το σχολείο με τους 63 μαθητές. Τους συγχαίρω και ευχαριστώ για τον επαγγελματισμό και την ψυχραιμία τους. pic.twitter.com/WtVBc3e9wB
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) March 3, 2021
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis personally called Letsios and congratulated him on his quick and calm response.
He also assured him that the school will be demolished and a new one will be built soon.
Ήταν επιθυμία του Πρωθυπουργού να βρεθούμε αμέσως δίπλα στους πολίτες του νομού Λάρισας, που επλήγησαν από τον σεισμό. Για άλλη μία φορά πρωταγωνιστές η ψυχραιμία και η αισιοδοξία των μικρών παιδιών. Όπως στο χωριό Δαμάσι. pic.twitter.com/u5TJjqMJvL
— Thodoris Livanios (@th_livanios) March 3, 2021
“The important thing is that there are no serious injuries and human losses, as human life is above all,” said Deputy Minister to the PM, Thodoris Livanios.
Seismologist Vassilis Karastathis who is the deputy director of the Athens Geodynamic Institute, said that the quake originated in a fault line in the area that has historically not produced temblors of much larger magnitude than Wednesday’s.
He said the post-quake activity appeared normal so far but experts were monitoring the situation.
“The earthquake had an estimated depth of just 8 kilometres and that was one of the reasons why it was felt so strongly in the region,” he added.
Officials are continuing to assess building damage.