NEWS

'Policemen' said to have ordered people out of homes in Cephalonia

An investigation has been launched into reports that a group of men posing as policemen ordered residents in the port town of Lixouri on the quake-hit island of Cephalonia to abandon their homes.

A prosecutor will be investigating the claims, which stirred panic among the residents of Lixouri, one of the areas hit the hardest by two earthquakes last week and on Monday respectively measuring 5.8 and 5.7 on the Richter scale.

Residents told authorities that groups of men dressed as police officers shouted that they had to evacuate their homes "as another earthquake is expected in 20 minutes."

A statement from the Greek Fire Service said that "in response to the unfounded rumors about an evacuation order being issued, we inform the public that the Civil Protection Authority has at no point issued such an announcement."

The Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization (OASP), a branch of the Infrastructure Ministry, issued a separate statement urging residents of the Ionian island to remain calm.

"The aftermath of every strong earthquake always provides fertile ground for intense and baseless rumors regarding the development of the seismic phenomenon in the area that has been hit," the OASP said. "We stress that citizens need to remain calm... they should refrain from believing such rumors and, more importantly, from propagating them."

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