ATHENS (Reuters) - Greeks on the island of Lesbos were counting the cost on Tuesday of a massive earthquake which ripped through its south on Monday, razing an entire village and leaving one person dead.
Many residents of Vrisa, a community of some 600 people, spent the night in tents, local hotels and a monastery after the 6.3 magnitude quake rippled through the area, toppling buildings.
“We are talking about total devastation,” Spyros Galinos, the mayor of Lesbos, told Reuters. A 43-year-old mother of two was killed when her home collapsed. Her husband survived.
“He was lying on a mattress upstairs which suddenly ended up on the street,” a man who identified himself as the victim’s brother-in-law told Star TV station. “We carried him out on a door.”
Authorities ordered the evacuation of the community, lying south of the island. A patchwork of terracotta rooftops seemed largely intact from footage, but walls ripped away from the intensity of the quake, with gaping large cracks in walls and debris sprawled across narrow streets.
“We are terrified .. We are sleeping in cars,” said Ipapanti Georganteli from the nearby community of Plomari. Damage appeared largely contained to two communities, Lesbos residents said.
State engineers were assessing the extent of the damage, though most homes were damaged beyond repair. “About 75 percent of homes are on the verge of collapse,” said Efthymios Lekkas, head of the earthquake planning and protection organization.
Galinos said he had discussed the activation of the EU’s assistance mechanism for natural disasters.
The eastern Aegean island with a population of about 70,000 was at the forefront of a migration crisis two years ago when hundreds of thousands of war refugees landed there from Turkey, seeking a gateway into Europe.
Reporting By Angeliki Koutantou, Renee Maltezou and Michele Kambas. Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Jeremy Gaunt