Strong quake hits Greek island

Strong quake hits Greek island

A strong earthquake with magnitude 6.8 struck off the western Greek tourist island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea early Friday, and was felt as far away as Athens, but authorities said there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage.

The US Geological Survey said the epicenter of the undersea quake was 33 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Mouzaki in the southern part of the island. It had a depth of 14 kilometers and struck just before 2 a.m. local time (2300 GMT Thursday).

Greece’s fire service said no damage has been reported so far, but power has been cut off in the island capital of Zakynthos. Rockfalls were reported in another part of the island, and part of a church wall collapsed on the mainland town of Pyrgos, in the southern Peloponnese area.

The quake was felt strongly throughout western Greece.

Another two less strong shocks hit Zakynthos just before and shortly after the magnitude 6.8 one. The village of Mouzaki is near the popular tourist resort of Laganas.

Greece lies in one of the world’s most earthquake-prone regions, with thousands of quakes recorded every year. But few cause injuries or significant damage. In 1999, a magnitude 5.9 quake on the outskirts of Athens killed 143 people.

Zakynthos has had severe earthquakes in the past, and as a result has a very strict building safety code. [AP]

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