A 22-year-old man has likened Monday’s earthquake on the Greek island of Crete to a biblical disaster, describing it as his “worst nightmare”.
Manos Hahlioutis lives in the city of Heraklion – the capital of Crete – which is located less than 25 miles away from the town of Arkalochori, where the epicentre of the quake hit.
One man lost his life and at least 20 others were injured, in a catastrophe that destroyed several businesses and buildings alike.
Hahlioutis, who works as a sports journalist, told the Daily Star of the ordeal: “When the earthquake hit, it was something like out of a biblical disaster.
“The photos you see online and on TV speak 1,000 words, it was truly shocking. The fact that a man lost his life I think says a lot about the severity of the incident.
“I live less than 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the epicentre and felt like the quake was happening in my own back yard, people were running out of their houses screaming in panic.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been in Arkalochori, I think about it and shudder to be honest.”
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Since Monday the island – Greece’s largest – has experienced over 200 aftershocks according to the 22-year-old.
He added: “The biggest aftershock was on Tuesday morning, which was 5.4 magnitude, but we’ve been having so many every day, with many of them over 4.0 magnitude.
“We feel most of them too, you can feel the ground shaking and trembling, especially if you live in an apartment block.
Hahlioutis also described some of the damage that was done to buildings and said: “The buildings worst affected were the old ones that hadn’t been maintained in years, especially on their exterior. Luckily no one lives in them so there weren’t any more injuries.
“Some lived-in houses did have a lot of indoor damage though, with walls cracking and broken windows, which just adds extra cost burdens for the residents to fix.”
The country’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, hurried back from his trip to France, to meet locals on the island on Tuesday and see the damage for himself.
Mr Mitsotakis had the opportunity to talk to residents who expressed their concern about the situation they are experiencing, asking for support from the state.
According to information, the PM will announce a package of immediate measures to support the earthquake victims, the amount of which is estimated at €25-30 million euros.
He further revealed that the state has made temporary housing available for those who cannot return home.
More specifically, it will accommodate victims in tents and empty apartments in Heraklion.
Companies that have been forced to suspend their operations will also receive state aid.
Moreover, banks will be lenient and provide the necessary facilities for those who find it difficult to meet their current obligations.
Meanwhile, schools on the island have been instructed to stay shut all week for safety reasons, with teaching taking place online instead.
“What a terrifying thing to experience”, Hahlioutis added. “I’m just glad my loved ones and I are safe.”