ATHENS – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 damaged scores of homes on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos Monday, injuring at least ten people. It was also felt in western Turkey, including in Istanbul, and on neighboring islands.
According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management, the undersea earthquake’s epicenter was at a shallow depth of seven kilometers (some four miles). At least 25 aftershocks have been recorded following the initial quake at 3:28 p.m.
The tremor was also felt in densely populated Istanbul and the western Turkish province of Izmir, but no injuries were reported there.
The governor of Greece’s north Aegean region told state-run ERT television that “we’re using all the resources we have to help the people in southern Lesbos.”
“The information we have is that there are 10 injuries,” Christiana Kalogirou said. “The army is also helping, and will provide tents for people remaining outside their homes. They will be able to stay in sports facilities.”
The worst damage was reported in the southern village of Vrisa — where at least 10 people were injured. Firefighters freed an elderly couple from a damaged home and were struggling to get a trapped woman out of another house in the village. Several old buildings collapsed, and rubble blocked roads in Vrisa.
Lesbos authorities said homes were also damaged in the village of Plomari and some roads were closed. No severe damage was reported on nearby islands.
“We are advising residents in affected areas of Lesbos to remain outdoors until buildings can be inspected,” senior seismologist Efthimios Lekkas said.
Earthquakes are frequent in Greece and Turkey, which are on active fault lines. Two devastating earthquakes hit northwestern Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people. Experts in both countries said more aftershocks are to be expected.
In Turkey, 61-year old Ayse Selvi felt the tremors in her summer home in Karaburun near the quake’s epicenter.
“My God, all the picture frames fell on the ground and I have no idea how I ran out,” she said. “I’m scared to go inside now.”
There was no reported damage or injuries at refugee camps on Lesbos or the nearby island of Chios. Both islands saw a major influx of migrants leaving from Turkey in 2015, and about 8,000 remain in limbo in Lesbos and Chios as they await news on their asylum applications.