Crete: Greek island hit by 5.5 magnitude earthquake

Crete earthquake: Tsunami fears as thousands urged to go to higher ground

Crete is a popular vacation spot for British tourists

People in the coastal areas of Crete were urged to run to safety as a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit this morning.

The alert was raised for Heraklion and Siteia when the quake struck around 1.25am 40 miles northeast of Siteía, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

It struck at a depth of 50 miles and was reportedly felt as far north as North Africa.

Tsunami fears were sparked by the EMSC, which urged locals to “move away from the shore and go to higher ground”. That warning has now been withdrawn.

According to local reports, the phone systems in Crete were overwhelmed with demand after the quake.

However, no injuries or damage to buildings were immediately reported in any of the affected areas.

A local in Siteia said they felt a “slight tremor” that lasted “five to ten seconds”.

In recent years, a number of minor earthquakes have been recorded in Crete, a popular spot that attracts thousands of tourists each year.

A man died on September 27, 2021 when the dome of a church being renovated in the town of Arkalochori collapsed in a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.

On July 20 of this year, according to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake occurred in the sea near Crete.

Despite today’s warnings, an expert has assured people in the south-east Aegean that such earthquakes do not normally pose a danger.

Efthymios Lekkas, a professor of dynamic tectonic applied geology and disaster management, told Skai TV this is because they have “no significant post-seismic sequence”.

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Justin Scacco

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