Two killed, 37 injured in earthquake in Greece

June 9th, 2008 - 12:34 am ICT by IANS  

Athens, June 8 (DPA) An earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck southwestern Greece Sunday, killing two people and injuring at least 37, officials said. Greece’s Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said more than 50 homes collapsed when the strong quake struck the western Peloponnese region.

The epicentre of the quake was put at some 35 km northeast of the port city of Patras, some 150 km west of Athens and had a depth of 10 km.

Many of those admitted to hospital had suffered light injuries, he said. Some were injured when they jumped from balconies in panic and were struck by flying glass.

One person, who had been lying on a beach on the Ionion island of Lefkada, was injured by falling rocks.

Media reports said at least two people, a young boy and an elderly man, were trapped in rubble in the town of Ahaia, close to the earthquake’s epicentre. Residents, too scared to return to their homes, spilled onto the town’s main street.

Emergency crews rescued seven people who had been trapped in collapsed homes in the villages of Fostaina and Vartholomio, approximately 30 km south of Patra.

The earthquake, which was felt as far as the northern port city of Thessaloniki, the Ionion islands and Athens, caused panicked residents to rush out onto the streets.

The national highway connecting the capital Athens with Patras was cut off after falling rocks spilled onto the road. An air force base in the town of Andravida was damaged.

The director of the Athens Geodynamical Institute Gerassimos Papadopoulos said he expected more aftershocks in the area, but told people not to panic.

“There will be more aftershocks but this is a natural phenomenon,” he said.

In January, a 6.5 earthquake struck the Peloponnese but no deaths were reported. The last deadly earthquake to hit Greece was in 1999, killing 143 people.

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