Two killed as earthquake strikes Peloponnese

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An earthquake struck southern Greece yesterday, killing two villagers, injuring 125 people and damaging dozens of homes, authorities said.

Panicked residents ran into the streets and some jumped from balconies when the quake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, struck at 1525 local time (1225 GMT), 33 miles south of the western port city of Patras.

The village of Kato Achaia near the epicentre appeared to be hardest hit by the tremor, which was felt as far away as Italy.

One man was found dead under a collapsed wall and an 80-year-old woman from a nearby village died in hospital of a heart attack after being injured.

A Reuters witness said about half a dozen old houses at the entrance of the village had collapsed and one church had visible damage.

Aftershocks were continuing, with many residents in the region set to spend the night outdoors and in cars, too scared to return to their residences.

"Everyone is out, sitting in the village squares, while firefighters and emergency services are everywhere," said Reuters photographer Yiorgos Karahalis.

Greek television showed villagers rummaging through rubble trying to find belongings, while more were shown wandering the streets in disbelief and fear.

"I was so scared. I've never felt anything like this before," Patras student Vassilis Lambropoulos told Reuters by phone. "We rushed into the street and bits and pieces were falling off buildings."