State activates emergency response after 6.0 earthquake in Thessaly

The political leadership of the interior ministry on Wednesday put all services responsible for addressing the immediate needs of earthquake victims in Elassona on full alert, at the orders of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

There were no victims but extensive damage was reported in homes in the area, while six people trapped in collapsed houses in the village of Mesochori were rescued by the Fire Brigade.

The interior ministry is ready to support the local authorities in restoring the damage caused by the 6.0 Richter earthquake that struck the area on Wednesday.

Both Interior Minister Makis Voridis and Alternate Interior Minister responsible for Local Administration issues Stelios Petsas spoke with the regional governor of Thessaly Kostas Agorastos, with mayors of the area and with New Democracy deputies elected in Thessaly in order to be briefed on the situation.

Petsas gave assurances that the state will assist in both the financial coverage of emergencies and also in the restoration of damages caused by the 6 Richter earthquake in the region of Thessaly.

Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Livanios, the general secretary of infrastructure Giorgos Karagiannis and the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Konstantinos Floros are in the area at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ order so as to inspect local conditions.

“It is very important that there are no serious injuries and no human fatalities after Wednesday’s earthquake as human life is above all else”, said Livanios after a meeting held at Damasi village, in Tyrnavos municipality, Larissa.

Livanios stressed that a team from the Interior Ministry is at the quake-afflicted area inspecting public buildings, including hospitals, nursing homes and health centers so that people can eventually return to them, if these are deemed safe.

Finally, according to a Maximos Mansion announcement, the regional governor of Thessaly Kostas Agorastos and the mayors of the area have been contacted, while there is an open line with Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias, in order to offer any support, with human life as the first priority.

At least 30 houses were damaged in the vicinity of Mesochori in the municipality of Elassona. The residents are in the streets and waiting for instructions from the municipality and civil protection services.

The Greek Army will help set up tents at the playing field in the town of Damassi, NW of Larissa, where homes were damaged after a strong earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the area of Elassona, Thessaly Regional Director Kostas Agorastos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Wednesday.

The tents will house people whose homes were damaged. Also seriously damaged in the area was the school building.

Revised quake estimate

The magnitude of Wednesday’s earthquake in the area of Elassona is within the range of earthquakes that are know to happen in the area, professor of seismology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Manolis Skordilis said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).

The strong quake that shook the wider region of Thessaly, central Greece at 12:16 on Wednesday measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, according to a revised estimate by the Geodynamics Institute of National Observatory of Athens. Its epicentre was located 16 km south of the town of Elassona with focal depth 7.8 km.

“In all likelihood this was the main earthquake,” Skordilis noted, adding that “there were several aftershocks of quite large magnitudes, which is logical.” The rift in the area “has caused earthquakes in the past. The most recent was in the 18th century. It was in 1781, with a magnitude of 6.2 Richter. The earthquake that took place today is in the range of the earthquakes occurring in the area,” he said.

According to Skordilis, the largest aftershock so far occurred at 12:34 and measured 4.8 on the Richter scale.

International support

Several countries expressed their support to Greece after the earthquake.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a phone call with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, expressed Turkey’s solidarity and its readiness to offer support if needed.

“In a phone call with FM NikosDendias, Turkey’s FM Mevlut Cavusoglu conveyed solidarity to Greece following the earthquake that hit central Greece & expressed his country’s readiness to offer support if the need arose. Present during the conversation was also Georgia FM D. Zalkaliani, who also expressed his solidarity and support,” the Greek Foreign Ministry posted on its Twitter account.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi expressed his country’s solidarity and support in a phone call to Dendias on Wednesday, the Greek ministry wrote on Twitter on the day, as did Bulgarian FM Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Wednesday evening afterquake

An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale registered at 20:25 in the Mesochori areas at Elassona, near Larissa, on Wednesday evening.

The fresh earthquake is part of the metaseismic activity that is expected to follow the 6.0 Richter scale tremor which shook the region on midday Wednesday, Professor Efthimios Lekkas told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on the day, speaking from the area.

The new quake occurred 240km northwest of Athens and its epicenter was 22km from Elassona proper.

Larissa and Trikala area villages report earthquake damage

Damage from the earthquake that hit central Greece’s Elassona district and measured 6.0 on the Richter scale was also reported from villages around Larissa and Trikala on Wednesday.

In Larissa’s region, the Koutsohero village had several damaged homes, mostly of old construction. A bridge in the area appeared to have no visible damage but authorities advised that trucks over 3.5 tons avoid it, and all vehicles cross with low speeds.

In Trikala, most damage was reported in Farkadona and smaller communities. Technical crews were assessing damage.