Twin earthquakes in Greece last week have left around 900 houses uninhabitable, media reported Sunday, while strong aftershocks continue to strike fear into people made homeless and looking for shelter.
Wednesday and Thursday’s quakes, rated at magnitude 6.3 and 5.9, damaged hundreds of buildings in the villages of Larissa, Elassona, Tyrnavos and Farkadona and injured 11 people.
After inspecting around 1,800 structures, engineers said 898 homes would have to be demolished along with some hospitals, schools and churches, Athens News Agency reported.
The mainly agricultural area has many stone buildings that are over 70 years old.
Authorities are rushing in caravans and tents to shelter those left homeless from low temperatures and rainy weather.
Thessaly regional governor Kostas Agorastos said Sunday that temporary housing units and caravans would be hooked up to electricity and water supplies in Damassi and Messohori villages, with at least 100 caravans expected in the coming week.
On Saturday, deputy Interior Minister Stelios Petsas said that each earthquake-hit municipality would receive 300,000 euros ($360,000) on Monday to fund emergency spending.
Meanwhile seismologists have warned people not to return to damaged homes, forecasting many months of aftershocks.
“It’s a given that post-earthquake activity will be long, at least for 4-5 months, so the best solution is to move earthquake-stricken families to containers,” the director of the Greek Geodynamic Institute, Akis Tselentis, told Kathimerini newspaper.
A magnitude 4.2 aftershock hit late Saturday near the town of Elassona in Thessaly.
Greece is located on a number of fault lines, and is sporadically hit by earthquakes. But they mostly occur at sea and do not cause casualties.
In October, a 7.0 magnitude quake struck in the Aegean Sea between the Greek island of Samos and the city of Izmir in western Turkey. Two teenagers died on the island of Samos in a building collapse.