NEWS

Engineers start checks on Cephalonia buildings following strong earthquake

Engineers began checking on Monday buildings on the island of Cephalonia, which was rocked by a 5.9-Richter earthquake on Sunday afternoon.

Experts from ministries, regional authorities and public organizations travelled to the Ionian island to inspect the damage done by the quake and the numerous aftershocks that followed.

The earthquake caused residents to run out of their homes, with many preferring not to return overnight. Employees at the island’s airport also refused to return to the building to complete check-in for a flight to Athens. Passengers’ documents were eventually checked outdoors.

A passenger ferry with the capacity to host 700 passengers docked at the island, while another vessels that can carry 1,300 people is due to reach Cephalonia on Monday to help provide shelter for residents.

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear but Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis, who visited the island on Sunday, said it was not serious.

“We had some minor injures, with initial information indicating that seven people were wounded, mostly from falling masonry,” he said. “The buildings withstood the earthquake and no serious damage has been reported.”

Michelakis added that rockfalls had damaged roads on the island, which suffered extensive damage during an earthquake in 1953.

He added that public buildings would be the first to be checked. Schools on the island will not reopen until engineers have deemed them safe.

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