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5.1-magnitude earthquake hits Athens, prompts panic & evacuations

5.1-magnitude earthquake hits Athens, prompts panic & evacuations
The Greek capital of Athens was hit by a series of tremors, with the strongest measuring magnitude 5.1, causing people to flee onto the streets from houses, offices and shopping malls.

The earthquake struck at 2:14pm local time, with the epicenter located 23km northwest of the city, according to the Institute of Geodynamics at the National Observatory of Athens.

The quake, followed by several aftershocks, was felt in different parts of the city. Witnesses described them as “powerful.” No injuries were reported in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

Footage from the scene shows furniture shaking and falling inside apartments during the tremors. 

Many public buildings and large shopping malls were evacuated.

Startled people flooded onto the streets, fearing further aftershocks. They gathered outside the buildings, and some also left their cars and buses.

Some debris can be seen lying on top of parked vehicles and the pavement. 

There were also reports of problems with electricity and mobile phone connection.

The nation’s main emergency agency, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, has been called to convene for an urgent meeting to assess the damage.

This is the first earthquake to hit Athens since 1999, when a 6.0-magnitude tremor killed 143 people and damaged 70,000 buildings.

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