A powerful earthquake shook the island of Kefalonia yesterday afternoon, January 26th, 2014. The earthquake with 5.8 magnitude occurred at 3:55 pm, with the epicenter located 280 km (175 miles) west of Athens, near the town of Lixouri. The quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks as powerful as 4.5 magnitude, according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute, and it was felt in many regions of western Greece, Albania, and southern Italy.
The towns of Lixouri and Argostoli suffered most damages, with local media reporting also damages on roads and buildings, several rock falls, and damages to the local airport's control tower, while the villages of Lixouri were experiencing frequent power cuts yesterday evening. Only some minor injuries were reported, caused by falling objects and broken windows. For precaution, the medical centre of Lixouri was evacuated and all schools on the island will remain closed in order to carry out the necessary inspections.
Local officials urge residents to stay calm and not return to their homes if there is visible damage. Reportedly, two ferries were on the way to the island today (Monday) morning to provide temporary accommodation to those residents whose homes were damaged.
As seismologists have noted, the buildings in Kefalonia are very well constructed to survive so powerful earthquakes. In fact, large earthquakes are common in the Ionian Sea. In 1953, a large earthquake of 7.2 devastated almost completely the islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaca. After this incident, the locals took heavy measures in house construction to prevent such catastrophes again.