One person died and at least 20 others were injured after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Greek island of Crete.
People were sent fleeing to the streets of the city of Heraklion, schools were evacuated because the earthquake damaged houses and churches.
The repeated aftershocks rocked the country’s fourth-largest city, adding to damage to villages near the epicenter.
A man was killed when the dome of a small church in the town of Arkalochori, about 30 kilometers south of Heraklion city, collapsed during renovation work, a police officer said.
Hospital officials said 20 people had been treated for injuries, 10 of them received first aid.
Sniffer dogs, 30 members of the fire department’s disaster response unit and specialized rescue team were dispatched to Crete and all fire services on the island were put on general alert.
The Geodynamic Institute of Athens said the earthquake struck at 6.17 a.m., with a magnitude of 5.8 and an epicenter 153 miles (246 km) southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.
“This is not an unannounced event. We have seen activity in this region for several months,” seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos told Greek state broadcaster ERT.
“This was a strong earthquake, it was not under the sea but underground and it affected populated areas.”
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) and the United States Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with an epicenter four miles (7 km) north of the town of Thrapsano.
It is common for different institutes to provide variable magnitudes at the beginning of the aftermath of an earthquake.
At least nine aftershocks also struck the area, with EMSC giving a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 for the two strongest.
Domestic and international flights to Heraklion airport were not affected by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the region’s hoteliers association said there was no serious damage to any hotel in the area, which includes many popular resorts.
Forest fires recently devastated Greece, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and causing many to have respiratory problems.