Greek island expats and visitors caught in 5.3 earthquake

Published:  1 Aug at 6 PM
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A 5.3 strength earthquake hit close to the port city of Heraklion early yesterday morning, alarming resident expats and tourists.

The strong tremor struck Crete as expatriate residents and summer visitors were having breakfast and follows on a similar quake felt last month in Athens. Centred close by Crete’s capital city and major port, the quake was recorded at an 80 km depth and caused violent shaking across the region. One local expat told reporters his entire house was shaking, with mirrors on the walls swinging from side to side, but added no structural damage had been caused as the ancient property’s walls are three feet thick and the volcanic soil absorbed the strength of the shocks.

One couple visiting the island were relaxing in their rental accommodation when the quake struck, causing the bed and wardrobe to shake. They called to their friends on the ground floor, asking if they’d felt it as well, with all agreeing it was a scary experience. The quake followed on another of approximately the same size which hit some 14 miles from the centre of Athens just 12 days ago, causing the collapse of several buildings as well as being felt at Athens International Airport and by visitors across the region.

Another visitor travelling in Greece during the holiday season was sitting outside a restaurant in Athens and about to order a meal when the earthquake struck, causing an outside light to fall and dust from buildings to fill the air. She told local media she’d been scared, especially when she felt another, smaller aftershock. Earthquakes in Greece aren’t uncommon, but two in short order can cause concern amongst visitors and expat residents, especially as the country is one of the planet’s most seismically active regions.
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