Crete: 'Strong' earthquake hits Greek island popular among Brit holidaymakers

The quake was felt all over the island, said Crete's deputy regional governor. Credit: AP

A "strong" earthquake has hit the Greek island of Crete, just three weeks after another killed a man and damaged hundreds of buildings.

There were no reports of serious damage or injuries, but a small church near the epicentre that was empty at the time of the quake partially collapsed.

The undersea earthquake, which occurred at 12:24pm local time, had a magnitude of 6.3.

It was felt as far as the coast of Turkey and on Cyprus, more than 310 miles to the east, authorities said.

Magnitude 4.1 and 4.6 quakes - believed to be aftershocks - took place minutes later, the Geodynamic Institute in Athens said.

Authorities reported a swell in the sea level around the eastern Cretan port of Ierapetra and advised residents to stay away from the coast.

“The quake was felt all over the island, and it did cause concern because we are still feeling the aftershocks from the previous quake,” Crete's deputy regional governor, Yiannis Leondarakis, told Greece's state-run radio. Witnesses said residents of the island’s largest city, Heraklion, went outdoors when the quake struck, while students at many schools on the island gathered outside their classrooms.

Authorities said police and fire crews were checking remote villages in eastern Crete to see if people had been injured or buildings had been damaged.

Hundreds of people from villages south of Heraklion remain homeless following a 5.8-magnitude quake that struck on September 27.

One person was killed, 20 were injured and buildings were destroyed in Crete's last earthquake, just three weeks ago. Credit: AP

A man was killed while carrying out restoration work at a church that was damaged in the area.

Residents whose homes were damaged were moved to hotels and tents set up by the army. Leondarakis said of Tuesday's earthquake: “Fortunately, there does not appear to be any serious damage despite the fact that it was a strong event and occurred at a shallow depth.” The quake also shook nearby Greek islands to the east of Crete, including Karpathos and Kassos.