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Man killed as Crete struck by 5.8-magnitude earthquake

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At least one person has been killed and several injured after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Greek island of Crete, local officials say, writes BBC News.

The man died when the dome of a church that was being renovated in the town of Arkalochori caved in.

People were sent rushing out on to the streets when the earthquake struck at 09:17 (06:17 GMT).

Many buildings were damaged and some reduced to piles of rubble from the initial quake and strong aftershocks.

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People who live in damaged, older buildings are being advised to stay outdoors.

Some 2,500 tents were set up to house those who could not safely return to their homes on Monday, government minister Christos Stylianidis told Greece's Ant1 news.

He also declared a state of emergency in the Heraklion region - where Arkalochori is located.

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British woman Millie Mackay and her nine-year-old daughter Eleni are on holiday in Crete and were in their ground floor hotel room when the earthquake hit.

"Glasses started smashing so we ran outside by the pool," Ms Mackay told the BBC.

"There the bosses guided us to a place of safety... [The manager] was then calling out room numbers and checking if everyone was out and OK."

Local resident Evangelia Christaki told AFP news agency that she had just enough time to grab her husband, who has a disability, and run outside as her house shook.

"Fortunately, our home was not too badly damaged," she said. "But the authorities have told us to stay outdoors over the next hours. In any case, we are so scared."

The small farming town of Arkalochori, located about 30km (18 miles) from the island's capital Heraklion, was particularly badly hit by the earthquake.

Pictures from the area show damaged shop fronts and crumbled buildings.

Local media is reporting that safety inspections are now under way, with members of Greece's disaster response unit flown in with sniffer dogs and specialised rescue equipment.

"This is not an event that occurred without warning," seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos said on Greece's state broadcaster, ERT.

"We have seen activity in this region for several months. This was a strong earthquake, it was not under sea but under land and affecting populated areas," he added.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) initially recorded a magnitude of 6.5 while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) put it at 6.0.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute later said the 5.8 quake struck 23km (14 miles) north-west of the coastal village of Arvi, at a depth of 10km.

Both Greece and Turkey sit on fault lines and earthquakes are common.

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Disasters

EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to deliver emergency aid to Haiti following earthquake

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An EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of two flights is delivering more than 125 tonnes of life-saving materials to humanitarian organizations active in Haiti, as part of the EU response to the earthquake that hit the country on 14 August. The first flight arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday (27 November) while a second flight is expected to reach the country in the coming days. Cargo includes medical equipment, medicines, water, sanitation and hygiene items and other material supplied by humanitarian partners from the EU.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: "At this critical time, the EU continues to support people in Haiti who are suffering the consequences of the terrible disaster that hit the country. Medical assistance, shelter and access to water are urgent needs that cannot be left unheard. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the EU and its partners, together with the Haitian authorities, vital assistance is being delivered to help the people of Haiti to survive this challenging time.”

Since the beginning of 2021, the EU has mobilized more than €14 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti, focusing on disaster preparedness, emergency response to the food crisis as well as meeting the needs generated by the increase in gang-related violence, forced displacement and forced repatriation. Following the devastating earthquake of 7.2 magnitude that hit Haiti on 14 August, the EU released €3 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to address the most pressing needs of the affected communities. The press release is available online.

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Disasters

Haiti earthquake: EU continues to mobilize emergency assistance

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In addition to the €3 million in humanitarian funding mobilized by EU to address the most urgent needs in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the EU is scaling up its assistance. As result of the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism by Haiti, a team of 12 EU experts and two ERCC Liaison Officers are reaching Haiti to provide support in co-ordinating of the incoming EU assistance. In addition, several EU member states are joining the aid operations by offering further support such as a Technical Assistance and Support Team and shelter tents from Sweden, one water purification module from France, as well as one water treatment plant, medical equipment and medicines, 720 tarpaulins and 500 family kitchen kits from Spain.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “The catastrophe that has hit Haiti requires a quick and structured response to help the most affected people. In addition to the funds released this week for immediate aid relief, the deployment of EU trained experts, medical equipment and other emergency items will provide further relief to Haiti and help intervene where it is most needed. I thank the EU member states who have promptly offered their help via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.”

The EU's emergency Copernicus satellite has also been activated to map the area. The EU's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is constantly assessing the situation to monitor developments and coordinate the incoming EU assistance.

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Disasters

EU mobilizes €3 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti following devastating earthquake

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In light of the devastating effects of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on 14 August, the European Union is allocating €3 million in humanitarian funding to address the most urgent needs of the affected communities. In order to ensure the fastest possible intervention, EU funds will be implemented by humanitarian partners already active in the emergency response and will support and strengthen their capacity to swiftly provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable Haitians. The funding will address the most immediate needs such as the provision of medical assistance to local overwhelmed hospitals, water, sanitation and hygiene services, shelter and protection services for the most affected and disadvantaged communities. More information is available in the press release.

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