Two major earthquakes struck off the coast of Greece within the space of half an hour. The first measured 6.8 on the Richter scale while the second was 5.2.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) agency tweeted that sea levels had risen at least 20 centimeters in the affected zone and a tsunami alert had been issued.
More than 15 aftershocks followed. Schools were closed and officials surveyed the damage. The earthquake was felt in Malta, Libya, Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Bulgaria, FYRO Macedonia, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, according to the EMSC.
“It was a powerful and shallow earthquake that was felt throughout western Greece, up to Athens, the Western Balkans, even in Italy and Libya,” said seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos of the Geodynamic Institute in Athens.
About three people treated at the hospital after the quake hit near Zante, an island popular among British tourists.
The epicenter of the quake was in the Ionian Sea, 35 kilometers southwest of the island at about 1:54 a.m. local time Friday. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first tremor was just 10 kilometers below the surface.
"We have been in contact with the local authorities to see where there is damage," Greece's civil protection agency spokesperson, Spyros Georgiou, said.
Local media reported rockfalls and damage caused by landslides and electricity outages.
"We're checking out the villages on the island, where there are several older buildings," Georgiou added. "The lack of electricity is a problem, but technicians are trying to restore power."
Greece lies on major fault lines and is regularly struck by earthquakes resulting in thousands of quakes are recorded each year.