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More tremors hit holiday island of Kefalonia

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After suffering widespread earthquake damage last year, Kefalonia suffers more seismic rumblings under the Ionian Sea

Earthquake rumbles continue to shake the holiday island of Kefalonia months after a series of quakes hit the island in January causing widespread damage.

Scientists report a strong 5.1 magnitude tremor under the Ionian Sea just west of the island at the weekend following a 4.7 magnitude quake recorded on the previous Friday.

There have been no reports of injuries or damage but the incident will have reawakened memories of the series of tremors that rocked the island earlier this year.

A major 5.9 earthquake in January this year was one of many that shook the island for nearly a month, bringing down houses, causing landslides and blocking roads.

In February this year, just days after Kefalonia holiday hotel owners reassured tourists that hotel were safe despite more than 250 tremors over a number of weeks, the island was hit by another major earthquake.

Measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale the tremor struck Kefalonia just before dawn sending panicked residents across the island running out into the streets.

More than a dozen people were injured and damage reported to several buildings. Aftershocks as large as 5.2 were recorded and, at the height of the incidents, a state of emergency was declared.

Some parts of Kefalonia were without electricity for several days and rescue efforts were hampered as several roads were blocked by landslides.

Hundreds were evacuated from damaged or dangerous home and house in emergency shelters and on ferry boats docked in the harbour at the capital of Argostoli.

Nearly every building in the town of Lixouri was reported to have suffered some minor damage, and many buildings, including schools suffered from collapsed walls and roofs.

One unusual side effect of the seismic activity was the creation of several new beaches as parts of the island were raised around 20 centimetres.

The remote north-west Pali peninsula suffered the worst and it is here that searches have revealed beaches where none existed before including one that extended several thousands of square metres.

Fortunately the island recovered quickly from the worst effects and the 2014 summer holiday season was not affected as hotel owners reported a rise in visitor numbers despite fears that potential visitors would change their holiday plans.

European ministers also earmarked €3.7 million towards clean-up costs on the island and much work has been done to restore damaged roads and buildings.

But the latest tremors may do little to reassure visitors planning a holiday in Kefalonia in 2015. The whole Ionian region is no stranger to strong earthquakes.

The area is particularly prone to tremors and both Kefalonia and nearby Zante were devastated by a 7.2 quake in 1953 that razed many buildings across both islands.

Known as the Great 1953 Ionian Earthquake it struck the southern Ionian Islands in August 1953 after a month when more than 113 tremors were recorded in the region between Kefalonia and Zakynthos.

Earthquakes still regularly shake the islands of Zante and Kefalonia and there have been several, notably in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

It is not the only tremor reported in Greece over the past few weeks. A 4.8-magnitude earthquake also shook the cities of Patras, Aegion and Nafpaktos in the northern Peloponnese on Friday evening, according to Athens Geodynamic Institute.

The tremor occurred at a depth of 5 kilometres and its epicentre was located in the western Corinthian Gulf.

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake also struck Western Greece in the last week of October with its epicentre 20 kilometres from the mainland town of Arta , to the north-east of Kefalonia. No damage or injuries were reported.

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