by Staff Writers
Athens (AFP) June 13, 2017
The Greek island of Lesbos on Tuesday laboured to pick up the pieces after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake gutted a village, killing a woman and leaving over 15 injured.
The tremor, felt as far as Athens and in neighbouring Turkey, mainly struck the southern Lesbos village of Vrisa.
Officials said most of the village's old stone homes collapsed or were damaged. Rescue crews recovered the body of a 43-year-old woman in the ruins of her house some five hours after the quake struck after 1220 GMT.
"Seventy to eighty percent of the homes in the village have collapsed. The destruction is very extensive in this village," police minister Nikos Toskas told state radio ANA.
"Fortunately, damage to other villages in the surrounding area is minimal," Toskas said.
Two people remain hospitalised.
A government council under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting today to decide reconstruction and emergency accommodation for those left homeless at Vrisa.
"Great attention is needed because there could be a strong aftershocks, and damaged walls will not stand," the head of Greece's quake protection authority Efthymios Lekkas told Skai TV.
"Most of these homes need to be torn down," he said.
The US Geological Survey put the quake at 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale.
It said the epicentre of the quake was in the Aegean Sea 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) south of Lesbos, and there were several aftershocks.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute, which tallied the quake at 6.1 magnitude, said it had a depth of just 10 kilometres.
Lesser damage was reported on the neighbouring island Chios.
There were no reports of damage or casualties at the refugee camps in the east and north of Lesbos where thousands live.
Turkey and Greece sit on significant fault lines and have regularly been hit by earthquakes in recent years.
This year alone, Turkey's western Aegean coast has been hit by several earthquakes of up to 5.5 magnitude, which brought back memories of past deadly earthquakes.
On August 17, 1999, an earthquake measuring more than 7.0 magnitude near the city of Izmit devastated vast zones in the country's densely populated northwestern zone, notably around Istanbul, killing over 17,000 people.
A month later, a 5.9-magnitude quake killed 143 people in Athens and the region northwest of the capital.
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