ATHENS — A strong aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 has struck the southern Greek island of Crete, a day after a prolonged earthquake there left one man dead and injured several people.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said Tuesday morning's aftershock, the strongest of dozens that have been rattling the island, had an epicenter 22 kilometers south southeast of Heraklion, Crete's main city and the fourth largest in Greece.
Mitsotakis returned to Greece via Heraklion airport and made his way directly to the village of Houdetsi in the municipality of Archanes Asterousia, which sustained the most serious damage to its buildings and the road network.
Following the earthquake on Monday morning, Mitsotakis had instructed the leadership of the climate crisis and civil protection ministry and other government officials to go to the area and quickly deploy the state mechanism for dealing with the disaster.
An elderly woman from Heraklion was injured during the 5.4 Ricther earthquake. According to reports, the woman panicked and fell during the tremor, breaking her arm. Doctors have set the bones and sent her home. The eight people injured during Monday's earthquake are reported to be on the mend and doing well at the Venizelio Hospital.
On Monday, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 5.8 struck Crete, sending people rushing into the streets, damaging homes and causing rockslides. One man was killed when a church in a village near the epicenter collapsed.
Greece's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry said Monday's temblor was "most probably the main earthquake," and noted such events are followed by "intense seismic activity" in the form of aftershocks.
It warned the area's residents to avoid buildings that were even slightly damaged, and to follow directions by authorities.
Hundreds of homes are believed to have been damaged by the initial quake, and many local residents spent the night in tents set up by authorities.
Greece lies in a highly seismically active region and experiences hundreds of earthquakes each year. The vast majority are small and cause no damage or injuries.