Authorities activate earthquake plan after strong jolt damages buildings

Authorities activate earthquake plan after strong jolt damages buildings

Greece’s civil protection agency activated on Wednesday a plan for addressing the consequences of earthquakes – dubbed Engelados – after a 6.0-magnitude tremor struck a region in central Greece earlier in the day.

The strategy means the fire department, Greek Police (ELAS), the ambulance service (EKAV), Special Disaster Unit (EMAK) and local health centers will remain on alert until the effects of the earthquake are evaluated.

A number of EMAK drones are flying over the affected area to map any landslides or building collapses.

The tremor hit a region 24 kilometers northwest of the city of Larissa, 16 minutes after 12, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said.

It was followed by at least three aftershocks measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale (12.19 p.n.), 4.2 (12.26 p.m.) and 4.9 (12.34 p.m.). The original quake was felt in several parts of Greece and even the Balkans, reports said. 

Television footage from Larissa showed people gathering onto the main square for protection against possible falling debris. 

The regional governor of Thessaly, Costas Agorastos, told state-run broadcaster ERT that so far there were no reports of damages.

According to the reports so far, the tremor caused damages to old buildings in Elassona, and specifically in the villages located south of the Municipality of Tyrnavos, while an old, paraplegic man was pulled out alive of the rubble of his home in the village of Mesochori.

Costas Papazachos, a seismologist and professor of geophysics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, did not rule out the possibility of a very strong aftershock of the same magnitude, noting that schools in the affected areas should not open on Thursday.

Minister of State Theodoros Livanios is heading a government team that is heading to Elassona to inspect the damages.

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