Athens - Greece's government announced emergency relief for the residents of the Ionian islands of Kefalonia and Ithaki Monday, a day after they were hit by a strong quake which caused damage and slightly injured seven people.
Sunday's quake, whose magnitude the Athens Geodynamic Institute revised to 5.9 from the preliminary 5.8, was followed by dozens of aftershocks that continued through Monday.
Frightened residents were preparing to spend a second night in their cars or town squares, fearing a possible bigger quake. Many recall the devastating quakes of 1953, when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck three days after a 6.4 temblor, killing hundreds, injuring thousands and destroying nearly all the buildings on the islands.
“We need 48 hours to say with 99 percent certainty that this was the main quake,” Thanassis Ganas, head of research at the Athens Geodynamic Institute, said on Skai television Monday morning. He added, however, that the multiple aftershocks were normal and expected.
Buildings erected in the area since 1953 have been constructed to strict anti-seismic specifications, and serious damage from Sunday's quake was limited. Rockslides shut some roads and many homes and stores suffered cracks and broken windows.