Powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Greece, sending people in panic

A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake rattled central Greece on Wednesday sending people running in panic.

Tremors were felt across the country and as far as Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit after midday and was at a depth of 10km, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The epicentre was 20km south of Elassona, a town almost 400km from the capital Athens, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said.

Firefighters evacuated a man in the village of Mesochori, where a church was badly damaged and walls of houses also crumbled.

No casualties were reported so far but authorities urged residents to stay outdoors, warning of major aftershocks.

Parents raced to schools to check on their children. Some residents reported damage to their household items.

Greek seismologist Vassilis Karathanasis told state television that tremors were felt across the country.

“It was a big earthquake the consequences of which we do not yet know,” seismologist Efthymis Lekkas told state television ERT.

Aftershocks also rattled the area, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9.

The Civil Protection agency reported landslides in the region, and authorities were assessing for further damage.

Greece lies in a highly seismically active region. The vast majority of earthquakes cause no damage or injuries.

Last October, an earthquake that struck the eastern Greek Aegean island of Samos and the nearby Turkish coast killed two people on Samos and more than 100 people in Turkey.

The last major earthquake in the area was in the 18th century and was magnitude 6.2, Manolis Skordilis, a seismologist at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, told state agency ANA.