Strong quake felt in Athens, two people lightly injured


A strong quake centred northwest of Athens shook Greece on Friday, causing frightened residents to run into the capital's streets and damaging several buildings.

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics gave the natural disaster that struck at 2:13 p.m. local time (1113 GMT) a preliminary magnitude of 5.1. The Athens Institute says the quake struck at 2:38 p.m. local time (1113 GMT) about 26 kilometers (13.7 miles) north of Athens.

A fire brigade official said there had been several calls asking for help in rescuing people trapped in elevators, while some abandoned buildings were damaged.

A major quake measuring 5.9 hit Greece in 1999, leaving 143 people dead.

The US geological institute said Friday's quake had a magnitude of 5.3.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said an abandoned building collapsed in western Athens and several other abandoned buildings elsewhere in the city had serious damage.

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"There are no reports of serious injuries. But we need more time and data to have a clear picture".

Around 40 minutes after the first felt tremor, residents felt another strong quake, which the EMC rated magnitude 4.4, with an epicentre in the same region at the foot of Mount Parnitha.

A police officer stands on a street next to a damaged auto following an natural disaster in Athens, Greece, July 19, 2019. "The capital's buildings are built to withstand a much stronger natural disaster", he said.

Greece lies on major fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes, but they rarely cause casualties.

The most powerful quake to hit Athens in the last 20 years came in 1999, when a temblor of magnitude 6.0 caused extensive damage and killed more than 140 people.