Thursday, May 12, 2011

5.2 quake kills 10, topples buildings in Spain

Madrid, May 12: A magnitude 5.2 quake killed at least 10 people in southern Spain today, toppling buildings into the streets and sending panicked residents fleeing. Ten people perished, officials said, as the quake collapsed fronts of buildings in the southeastern town of Lorca and ripped huge gaps into walls, which slumped into the streets. Witnesses reported many injuries.

A church clocktower crashed into the street and narrowly missed one television reporter as he conducted an interview in the town on Spanish public broadcaster TVE. Television images showed shaken families and children gathering in squares and playgrounds in the town, some weeping and hugging as they sought safety. Masonry and rubble blanketed streets.
An apparently dead body lay in the street covered in a rescue blanket, television showed. A line of parked cars lay crushed under tonnes of rubble, according to photos published in the online edition of El Mundo. The tremor struck at 6:47 pm (local time) with a depth of 10 kilometres and could be felt in the capital Madrid. It hit nearly two hours after a smaller 4.4-magnitude quake. A doctor said many people had been hurt.
"I had just finished attending to a patient. We all went out into the streets and had to treat people, some with serious inuries, many unconscious, because the ambulances could not reach them. They took more than 40 minutes," the doctor, identified only as Virtudes, told the online edition of El Pais. "They just took away a man who had a wall fall on top of him." Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was informed of the disaster while he was in a meeting with King Juan Carlos, the premier's office said in a statement.
The king and prime minister then spoke to the president of the affected Murcia region and Zapatero immediately ordered the deployment of emergency military units to the area. Earthquake damages were concentrated on the towns of Lorca and Totana but also spread as far as Albacete and Velez-Rubio in Almeria, the premier's office said, confirming 10 dead. Residents described confusion in the town of 92,700 inhabitants, which lies 70 kilometres southeast of Murcia. "This is chaotic. All the ground is full of rubble," resident Jesus Ruiz told the paper.
siasat.com
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