Political News

Quake kills woman, guts houses on Greek island of Lesbos

Posted June 12

— An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 badly damaged scores of homes on the eastern Greek island of Lesbos Monday, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 people. It was also felt in western Turkey, including in Istanbul, and on neighboring islands.

Lesbos mayor Spyros Galinos and the fire service said the woman was found dead in the southern village of Vrisa that was worst-hit by the quake, which had its epicenter under the sea.

"Most houses in Vrisa have suffered severe damage," Galinos said, adding that afflicted residents were being relocated to temporary housing set up in a football field in a nearby village.

At least 10 people were injured in the village, many of whose roads were blocked by rubble.

Local authorities and the fire service said there were no reports of other people trapped or missing.

Earlier, rescuers pulled out an elderly couple alive from their damaged home in Vrisa.

According to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management, the epicenter was at a shallow depth of seven kilometers (four miles). At least 25 aftershocks were recorded following the initial quake at 3:28 p.m. (1228 GMT).

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 army is also helping, and will provide tents for people remaining outside their homes," Christiana Kalogirou said. "They will be able to stay in sports facilities."

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.

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Associated Press writer Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed to this report.

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