5.1-magnitude natural disaster rattles Athens; no reports of injuries

Illustrative

Illustrative

A strong natural disaster has shaken the Greek capital of Athens, knocking out phone networks and power in parts of the city.

According to the Greek geodynamic institute, the quake had a 5.1-magnitude and its epicentre was near the town of Magoula, 23 kilometres (14 miles) northwest of Athens, and was followed by several aftershocks.

The natural disaster was a 5.1 magnitude, according to an alert from the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center, and hit just after 2 p.m. local time.

Some said it lasted several seconds, but there are no reports of any injuries.

The fire brigade said it received 12 calls about people trapped in elevators.

A major natural disaster measuring 5.9 hit Greece in 1999, leaving 143 people dead. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude of 5.3.

Efthymios Lekkas, head of the state anti-quake protection agency, said there was no reason for alarm.

The quake is the first to hit the Greek capital since September 1999 and experts say it was very close to the same epicentre, at Mt Parnitha.

Gerasimos Papadopoulos, senior seismologist at the Geodynamics Institute, said Friday's quake was felt across southern Greece.

Around 40 minutes later, a strong aftershock was felt.

Seismologist Manolis Skordilis told Greece's Star TV: "The natural disaster was close to the surface, which is why it was felt so much".

A police officer stands on a street next to a damaged vehicle following an quake in Athens, Greece, July 19, 2019.

Earthquakes are common in Greece and neighboring Turkey.

The quake struck at around 1100 GMT, sending anxious residents and office staff onto the street.

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