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Southeast Spain rattled by rare quakes
At least eight killed and buildings destroyed after two earthquakes hit in quick succcession.
Last Modified: 11 May 2011 20:15

 

Two rare earthquakes have struck southeast Spain in quick succession, killing at least eight people, injuring dozens and causing major damage to historic churches and public buildings, officials said.

The first quake measured 4.4 while the second was of 5.2 magnitude, an official in the regional government said on Wednesday.

The epicentre of the quakes was near the town of Lorca, the official said.

Reports said buildings have collapsed, including some historical sites.

Dozens of injured people were being treated at the scene and a field hospital was set up in the town of about 85,000 people, officials said.

About 270 patients at a hospital in Lorca were being evacuated by ambulance as a precaution after the building sustained minor damage, the Murcia regional government said.

Scared residents

Many residents decided to spend the night camped out in parks and other open spaces, fearing aftershocks and because of structural damage to their homes, according to state TV footage.

"I felt a tremendously strong movement, followed by a lot of noise, and I was really frightened,'' the newspaper El Pais quoted a Lorca resident, Juani Avellanada, as saying.

Yet another resident, Juana Ruiz, said her house split open with the quake and "all the furniture fell over,'' according to the paper.

Spanish TV showed images of cars that were partially crushed by falling rubble, and large cracks in buildings.

This was the deadliest quake in Spain since 1956, when 12 people died and some 70 were injured in a quake in the southern Granada region, according to the National Geographic Institute.

It says Spain has about 2,500 quakes a year, but only a handful are actually noticed by people. Spain's south and southeast are the most earthquake-prone regions.

The quakes in Spain come amid rumours in Italy of devastating shakes striking the capital Rome, causing residents to flee in panic.

Source:
Agencies
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