A brief but powerful earthquake hit the area of Bitola yesterday evening, and panicked citizens. There is little damage reported – several old and disused houses collapsed and many are reporting cracks appearing in their walls, and there are no casualties.
The quake hit at 22:43 and measured 5.6 degrees on the Richter scale and its epicenter was just south of the border into Greece, near Lerin (Florina). It was felt across the region, north to Kosovo and in Albania as well. It was followed by several aftershocks, one of them measuring 4.2 degrees. Aftershocks are still being felt this morning.
When the first quake hit, citizens of Bitola and other towns and cities in the region ran outside. Many spent hours in their cars, in the cold winter night, afraid to come home for fear of stronger aftershocks. It reminded the city of the powerful 1994 earthquake.
Mayor Toni Konjanovski convened the crisis headquarters and coordinated actions by the medical emergency teams and the firefighters. City officials will meet today to prepare a package of assistance to families who suffered more serious damage.
Similar scenes were seen in Lerin, Voden (Edessa) and other cities across the border. Given that the tremors were very loud, citizens panicked and fled their homes for hours. Video from the region shows people waiting in the streets for the ground to stop shaking.
A surveillance camera footage from Bitola shows how loud the tremors were – this is associated with a shallow earthquake.