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Strong quake kills two, hurts dozens on Greek island: official

(Xinhua)    20:24, July 21, 2017
Strong quake kills two, hurts dozens on Greek island: official
Fractures on the port of Kos island are seen after a 6.4-magnitude quake hit the sea area on July 21, 2017. Two people were killed in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that jolted the Greek Dodecanese islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea on Friday, national AMNA news agency reported. (Xinhua/Giannis Kiaris/Eurokinissi)

Two tourists were killed and dozens of people slightly injured in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that jolted the Greek Dodecanese islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea on Friday, Greek officials said.

The two victims died when a roof on a bar collapsed, said Yorgos Kiritsis, mayor of Kos, which is part of the Dodecanese islands.

The victims were a 40-year-old Turkish national and a 20-year-old Swedish national, said Yorgos Chatzimarkos, deputy governor of the South Aegean.

About 90 people with slight injuries received first aid in a local hospital. Among the fifteen people who remain hospitalized, five have suffered more serious injuries and will be airlifted to hospitals on nearby larger islands by helicopters, Chatzimarkos said.

The five people are two Swedish nationals, one Norwegian and two Greeks, according to local police.

Seismologists in the Geodynamic Institute of the Athens Observatory located the tremor's epicenter at a depth of about 8 km and 15 km off the east coast of Kos.

Greek experts have been monitoring the seismic activities closely, as strong aftershocks continue, Geology Professor Efthymios Lekkas, head of Greece's Antiseismic Protection Organization, told the national news agency AMNA.

Engineers are evaluating the material damages across Kos island, said Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Christos Spirtzis.

The Kos airport is operating, but the port and the seafront area have been seriously affected by the tremor and the aftershocks. Necessary work will be carried out as soon as possible so that the port will operate again soon, Spirtzis said.

Ferries were unable to dock at the port on Friday, according to the Greek Coast Guard.

Dozens of locals and tourists spent the early hours of Friday outdoors, since several houses and hotels have been damaged and beachfront buildings briefly flooded from the waves caused by a mini tsunami, local media reported.

The buildings which have suffered the most damage were old constructions. Among them were churches, an old mosque and part of the ancient walls at the island's Roman-era market.

Seismic-prone Greece is often jolted by earthquakes. About 100 people died when a 6-magnitude quake hit Athens in September 1999, which marks Greece's worst quake-related tragedy in recent years.

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