A strong earthquake hit northwestern Greece resulting in structural failures, fortunately without causing any casualties.
The tremblor struck at 2:49 am local time on Saturday, March 11, 2020. Its epicenter was located 14 kilometers northeast of the town of Parga, located in Epirus, an administrative region in northwestern Greece. The epicentral depth of the earthquake was 10 kilometers. The seismic shock was preceded by another M 4.3 event that hit before midnight and followed by at least 32 aftershocks.
According to officials, 30 old buildings in the town of Parga and in a nearby village have partially collapsed or suffered severe damage associated with the seismic event. Several of those buildings were uninhabited and, fortunately, there were not many victims. Three people were hospitalized with minor injuries. Nevertheless, a couple was miraculously saved after the exterior wall of their house collapsed right next to their bed.
Parga's road network also suffered damage caused by the structural failures and some landslides that occurred but authorities have already begun restoration works.
Some of the old houses that were habitable and suffered damage were classified as inadequate to live in and the Greek government will provide a solution for the people affected.
In more newly built structures, the damage was far less extensive, including some windows cracking and plaster failures.
According to local media, people got out of their residences and stayed in the streets, something that could be dangerous given that Greece also faces the major issue of the coronavirus spread.
Dr. Gerasimos Chouliaras, research director at the National Observatory of Athens, Institute of Geodynamics, stated that the earthquake was anticipated since some preliminary shocks were recorded in the wider region during the last months. The aftershocks sequence is normal and there is no reason to worry for a larger upcoming shock. "...aftershocks may last for weeks, months or even years in some occasions depending on the magnitude of the mainshock but they are an order of magnitude below the main event. In our case, as the mainshock was M 5.6, the expected aftershocks should reach up to M 4.6. These are the scientific data and people should adapt to the phenomenon that is common as such incidents occur about once in a year in Greece."
Greece is located in a seismically active zone at the boundary of the convergence between the Africa and Eurasia plates. Therefore, moderate and some large earthquakes are anticipated periodically.
Click the video below to watch the impact of the earthquake on a house recorded on a live camera.