September 7: Remembering the 1999 deadly earthquake in Athens

September 7: Remembering the 1999 deadly earthquake in Athens

Amidst extreme weather and destruction by floods and wildfires, September 7 marks the 24th anniversary of another deadly natural disaster: the 1999 earthquake in Athens that left 145 people dead and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings and homes.

The earthquake shook the city with a 5,9 magnitude and an epicenter only 18km away from the center of Athens close to Parnitha. Those 15 seconds destroyed 72,906 homes and major factories, like Rikomex, Faram, and Fourlis, while leaving dozens of workers dead. More than 2,000 people were injured, 50,000 were left homeless and 85 had to be rescued. 

According to a survey conducted by the Harokopeio University for the Organization for Earthquake Victims’ Rehabilitation (OASP), homelessness was complemented by the invisible effects of higher unemployment rates, reduced consumer demand, and changed production processes. 

Natural disasters have hit Greece and its neighbors causing destruction on multiple fronts. 1999 marked the year of the earthquake of 7,9 magnitude in Izmit, Turkey killing 17,000 people. 

The floods that started on Monday have affected Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Improved regional cooperation for addressing the effects of extreme weather due to climate change is necessary as natural disasters know no borders. 

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