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Deadly 1986 Earthquake Still Haunts Greece’s Kalamata

Kalamata earthquake
At least 23 people were killed in the earthquake that hit Kalamata in 1986. Public Domain

On September 13th, Greece’s Kalamata marks the anniversary of the deadly earthquake of 1986 that flattened parts of the city and claimed the lives of dozens of people.

A solemn ceremony at the memorial dedicated to the victims is scheduled to take place and a minute’s silence will be observed to mark the disaster that struck the southwestern corner of the Peloponnese just after 8 pm on September 13, 1986.

A five-story apartment building containing seventeen apartments on the Kalamata waterfront collapsed after the magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit.

Kalamata earthquake
A five-story apartment building collapsed. Public Domain

Most of the old buildings became uninhabitable, and many had to be demolished.

The residents of Kalamata were forced to leave the city and were transferred to nearby villages, where they stayed for weeks.

Others slept in tents, and some were housed on ships that had been sent to the city.

The number of victims from the Kalamata earthquake is still under debate

Kalamata earthquake
Many residents of Kalamata lived in tents following the disaster. Public Domain

The number of fatalities following the earthquake is still debatable. Most experts say that the number of dead was twenty-three while others raise the death count to thirty-five.

The city was in a panic for days afterward as strong aftershocks hit the area.

In the following months, prefabricated houses were built, and the city slowly began to be rebuilt.

The catastrophic earthquake has been engraved in the memories of those who lived through the nightmare.

September 13, 1986 is one of the darkest days in the history of Kalamata.

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