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A powerful earthquake struck Greek islands early Friday morning, damaging buildings and a port, killing at least two people and causing more than 100 injuries, authorities said. The island of Kos was nearest to the epicenter and appeared to be the worst-hit, with two deaths and structural damage to older buildings. Minor damage _ cracks in buildings, smashed windows and trashed shops _ appeared widespread, according to city officials.
“The rest of the island has no problem. It’s only the main town that has a problem,” Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis told state-run Greek media. “The buildings affected were mostly old, and were built before the earthquake building codes were introduced.” Rescuers were checking for trapped people inside houses after the quake struck in the middle of the night. Kyritsis said the army was mobilized along with emergency services. The island’s port was among structures that sustained damaged and a ferry en route there was not docking, the coast guard said.
Giorgos Halkidios, Kos regional government official, said the number of injured was more than 100. “Two or three of them are in serious condition and are in surgery,” he said. He said the injured included people who were underneath a building that collapsed. Ferry services were suspended due to damage at Kos’s main port, where a 14th-century fortress also was damaged. A minaret from an old mosque also was damaged.
Greek officials said the quake was 6.5-magnitude. It was centered 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Bodrum, Turkey, and 10 miles (16 kilometers) east-northeast of Kos with a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. According to Turkish disaster officials, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3, and more than 20 aftershocks have been recorded.
Esengul Civelek, governor of Mugla province, said there were no casualties according to initial assessments. She said “there were minor injuries due to fear and panic.” In Bitez, a resort town about 6 kilometers (4 miles) west of Bodrum, the quake sent frightened residents running into the streets.
Hotel guests briefly returned to their rooms to pick up their belongings but chose to spend the rest of the night outside, with some using sheets and cushions borrowed from nearby lounge chairs to build makeshift beds, according to an AP reporter on the scene. Greece and Turkey lie in an especially earthquake-prone zone.