The residents of Cephalonia, Greece are suffering a third day of aftershocks following the strong earthquake that occurred at noon on Sunday, January 26.
An aftershock that struck early on Tuesday morning was measured at 4.2 on the Richter scale. This particular earthquake was shallow, only a couple of kilometers below the surface, with an epicenter nine kilometers west of Lixouri, a city on Cephalonia. Two more aftershocks followed, of magnitude 3.8 and 3.9.
The continuous aftershocks are concerning residents. Those afraid to return home spent a second night in their cars or on the Super Fast ferry which was sent to the port of Argostoli to accommodate the victims. The homes of more than 1,000 residents were badly damaged and have been declared unfit for use by the authorities. Another vessel is expected to arrive in Cephalonia on Tuesday, with a capacity of 1,300, in order to accommodate more residents.
The damage across the island is extensive. After the primary audit of buildings in Lixouri, three schools were declared unfit for use and all schools on the island will be closed until the end of the week. Many homes have been badly damaged or destroyed. According to the audit authorities, 60 percent of those in Lixouri were declared unfit for use. There is also subsidence along the beach and the main square and even the cemetery has been severely damaged.
In Argostoli one in four buildings has been declared unfit for use and the port was partly damaged. The village of Atheras was also evacuated on Monday for fear of landslides. Furthermore, Cephalonia’s airport is facing problems.
Despite severe damage across the island, seismologists have admitted that the destruction would have been greater if a similar earthquakes had occurred elsewhere in Greece. The sturdy buildings probably prevented more injuries or even deaths.
A state of emergency has been declared on Cephalonia since Monday and together with the severe weather conditions which will be intensifying in the coming days, the recovery of the island will be a difficult process.
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