As a result of an earthquake which shook the Larnaca area at 3.18am on Thursday the bell tower of the church of Ayios Ioannis the Theologian in Psevdas partly collapsed.
“Today at around 3.18am when the earthquake occurred many people of the community took to the streets after they heard a terrible noise. With horror and sadness we found that part of the bell tower of the church of Ayios Ioannis had collapsed, while the remaining steeple is in poor condition and is about to collapse,” Psevdas Community Council leader Frixos Michael told the Cyprus News Agency.
“At the first light of the day members of the Larnaca district administration and the antiquities department arrived, inspected the church and realised that the bell tower is actually dangerous. At the moment there is a fork lift on-site and we expect work to start, either for demolition or repair,” he added.
“We aim at repairing the bell tower because our church is about 120 years old. Hence were asked members of the antiquities department to come to the scene. We hope the steeple of our church which is built of stone and has a length of 22 meters and a width of 9 metres will be repaired.”
Furthermore, the council leader noted that large stones fell from the tower which necessitated the closure of a road and said that access had been limited until the damage was repaired.
According to Michael, the earthquake has also created a crack inside the church and the sanctuary and caused some cracks on the exterior of the building. No other damage occurred anywhere else in the village.
The earthquake causing the collapse of the tower was the first of two quakes in the Larnaca area on Thursday morning. The second one occurred at 5.16am.
The epicentre of both earthquakes of 4.2 and 3.3 respectively was the area around Klavdia, 13 kilometres west of Larnaca and they were felt in both the Larnaca and Nicosia district.
The first quake was at a depth of 10 kilometres while the second was at a depth of 6 kilometres.
A spokesman for the seismology department told the Cyprus News Agency there was no cause for alarm. It was better to have a series of small quakes that released pressure than to have none at all and then be hit with a large one.
Cyprus lies in an earthquake zone but large tremors are infrequent.
A 4.8 tremor hit the island’s north west coast in March this year and a 4.5 hit Limassol in January this year. Last year in July a 5.2 quake was felt in Nicosia in July.
In February 1995, a 5.7 quake in the Paphos district left two elderly people dead after their house collapsed in the villages of Pano-Arodes. There was also damage to homes in a number of other villages.
In October 1996, an earthquake measuring 6.5 in Paphos and Limasol caused panic and was also felt strongly in Nicosia, Larnaca and Paralimni. Twenty people were slightly injured and two lost their lives from indirect causes. Building damage was limited.
The last strong quake was felt in August 1999 – a 5.6 – off Limassol caused damage to buildings and villages to the north of the town. The quake was felt all over Cyprus and 40 people were slightly injured mainly because of panic.