Athens Greece 1999 (CAR)

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Event ID
199909071156
Event name
Athens
Country
Greece
Region in the country
Attica
World region
Europe
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(23.6 38.12)
WKT GIS format
GEMECD contributing partner
CAR
Event narrative

On Tuesday 7th September 1999, at 14:56 local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 6 and focal depth of 10 km struck around 20 km west of the Athens city centre in Greece. The main shock’s epicentre (38.12°N, 23.60°E) was in the Mount Parnitha very near the western suburbs of the Greater Athens metropolitan area.

In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 1,650,000 people were exposed to intensity VII or greater, of which around 0.2% were in rural areas. The proximity of the earthquake to a major urban area meant that damage from this earthquake was significant with losses estimated at 2.95 billion US$ (2.5% of Greece’s GDP in 1999) while 1.4 billion US$ was the estimated indirect loss. This was Greece’s most costly earthquake in recent history.

Date of occurrence (UTC)
1999-09-07
date
Time of occurrence (UTC)
11:56:00
time
Date of occurrence (local)
1999-09-07
date
Time of occurrence (local)
14:56:00
time
Day of the week (local)
Tuesday
Magnitude
6
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)
Focal depth
10
km
Seismological data: source
USGS
Seismological data: comment

ShakeMap Atlas

Overall impact

Despite its moderate magnitude this normal fault earthquake had its hanging wall directly underneath densely inhabited and industrial areas. As a result 226 buildings collapsed (of which 69 were reinforced concrete (RC) frame buildings ranging from 1 to 7 storeys and the rest were old load-bearing masonry low-rise houses) and an additional 4566 buildings had to be demolished due to extensive structural damage.

Loss of life occurred in 31 of the collapsed buildings (28 RC and 3 masonry buildings) where 125 people died while 85 were rescued by neighbors, relatives and search and rescue (SAR) operations. SAR took place on the site of 27 collapsed buildings. An additional 18 deaths (due to heart attacks, falling debris and falls) as well as 2000 injuries were documented. The number of homeless reached 15,000.

This earthquake demonstrated clearly that even moderate magnitude events can have tremendous loss potential when occurring near densely populated areas and that RC buildings in Greece, home to 88% of its population, have significant vulnerability.

Another lesson in this earthquake was that several industrial buildings collapsed (all were RC buildings) causing 45% of the life losses. In the single worst case a 4-storey plastics factory RC building sited on unstable ground at the very edge of a torrent collapsed entirely killing 39 workers. This building had been damaged by industrial fires twice before but was allowed to continue operating after repairs.

Overview data
Loss: Human Casualty
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People injured
2006
number
People injured: source
CAR estimate

People seriously injured
500
number
People seriously injured: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
People seriously injured: status
Approximate


People killed
143
number
People killed: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.

People killed due to ground shaking
143
number
People killed due to ground shaking: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.


Loss: Building damage
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Total number of buildings destroyed
4682
number
Total number of buildings destroyed: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
Total number of buildings destroyed: status
Greater than

Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking
4682
number
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: comment

It includes buildings with red tag (most to be issued with the demolition protocol). In addition to this there were also around 300 buildings that collapsed totally or partially. A building safety assessment was not carried out for these buildings, most of which were unreinforced masonry houses.

Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: status
Greater than

Number of buildings damaged by shaking
59667
number
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
Number of buildings damaged by shaking: comment

excluded the destroyed buildings


Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking
5800
number
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: status
Approximate

Number of dwellings damaged by shaking
190000
number
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards 27, 171-199.
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: status
Approximate

Loss: Socioeconomic
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People homeless
15000
number
People homeless: source
CAR estimate
People homeless: comment

Long-term homeless people who lost their red-tagged home due to the earthquake. Approximately 5,000 people lived in destroyed dwellings.

People homeless: status
Approximate

Direct economic loss
3395
million US$
Direct economic loss: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards, Vol. 27, 171-199.
Direct economic loss: comment

As announced by the Greek government on Nov. 12, 1999. It includes losses to:
7.5% for the education sector
3.1% for the health sector
0.6% for the culture sector (monuments; museums)
3.4% for the restoration of public infrastructure
85.4% for the restoration of damage to uninsured buildings (residential and non-residential)

It excludes the insured losses.


Indirect economic loss
925
million US$
Indirect economic loss: source
Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards, Vol. 27, 171-199.
Indirect economic loss: comment

As announced by the Greek government on Nov. 12, 1999. The breakdown of the reported costs by type is as follows:
53.7% payments for the living expenses of the affected population
25.4% for urban development planning and restoration
12.2% in programs for new employment creation, for support to the self-employed, for support of those that became unemployed because of the earthquake


Insured loss
120
million US$
Insured loss: source
Munich Re
Insured loss: comment

According to the Association of Greek Insurance Companies (EAEE) as of mid-January 2000 there were 10100 submitted claims totalling 107.7 million Euros (circa 120 million US$). More details in Table VI of Pomonis A. (2002). The Mount Parnitha (Athens) Earthquake of September 7, 1999: A Disaster Management Perspective, Natural Hazards, Vol. 27, 171-199.


People homeless due to shaking
15000
number
People homeless due to shaking: source
CAR estimate
People homeless due to shaking: comment

long-term homeless people


Direct economic loss due to shaking
3395
million US$

Indirect economic loss due to shaking
925
million US$

Demographics
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Total number of buildings
3950000
number
Total number of buildings: source
2000 National Building Census of Greece (back projection)