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7.1 Earthquake Topples Homes In Honduras, Belize

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Author Topic: 7.1 Earthquake Topples Homes In Honduras, Belize  (Read 67 times)
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« on: May 28, 2009, 06:08:52 am »

                                   7.1 earthquake topples homes in Honduras, Belize

Freddy Cuevas,
Associated Press Writer
May 28, 2009

A strong earthquake struck early Thursday off the coast of Honduras, collapsing shacks in Honduras and Belize and sending people running into the streets in their pajamas as far away as Guatemala City. No injuries or deaths were immediately reported.

The magnitude-7.1 quake struck at 3:24 a.m. (0824 GMT) at the relatively shallow depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado. The epicenter was 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of La Ceiba, Honduras, and 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Ana Maria Rivera, spokeswoman for Honduras' Permanent Emergency Commission, said it was felt strongly across Honduras' Caribbean coast.

"People ran from their homes in alarm," she said. "The quake was felt in almost the entire country."

Juan Sevilla, a spokesman for Honduras' firefighters, said wooden homes collapsed in Puerto Cortes, 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of Tegucigalpa, as did a stadium wall in Comayagua, 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of the capital.

Osman Hernandez, a spokesman for the mayor of El Progreso, told Radio Satelite that a major bridge across the Ulua River suffered major damage.

In Belize, people rushed from their homes as glasses and framed pictures crashed off of shelves. At least five wooden houses on stilts collapsed in three towns and a water tower toppled in the town of Independence, local officials said. Electricity was out all the way to the Mexican border.

"I urge you not to panic, but to remain calm," National Emergency Minister Melvin Hulse said on the radio. "Your government is monitoring the situation and will be keeping you informed."

A tsunami watch was discontinued for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala.

Raul Gonzalez, a receptionist at the Gran Hotel Sula in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, said guests ran into the streets in their pajamas.

"I ran out of the building and kept going for about a block before I looked back and everything had calmed," he said. "It was really strong. I have never felt anything like that."

He said the hotel did not suffer damage.

People ran into the streets as far away as Guatemala City, but firefighter Byron Juarez said a survey of firefighting offices throughout Guatemala revealed no reports of major damage.


Associated Press writers Juan Carlos Llorca in Guatemala City and Patrick Jones in Belize City contributed to this report.
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 06:22:18 am »

                                        Powerful quake kills at least one in Honduras


May 28, 2009

A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Honduras on Thursday killing at least one person and sending panicked residents fleeing into the streets, officials said.

The main tremor off the coast rattled the country for more than 30 seconds and a tsunami alert was maintained for more than 90 minutes for Honduras and neighboring Guatemala and Belize.

The quake struck at 2:24 am (0824 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The shallow 10 kilometer (six mile) depth added to the power of the quake.

Worried inhabitants poured onto the streets of Tegucigalpa and other towns in the nation of 7.6 million people, local radio stations reported.

One person was killed and another injured when their home collapsed in La Lima, some 230 kilometers (142 miles) north of the capital, a Red Cross official told local radio.

Separately, Red Cross representative Jesse Salazar in Tegucigalpa said there had been power outages and that no contact had been made with the Roatan, the island nearest the quake.

The epicenter was 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of La Ceiba on the Honduras coast and 63 kilometers (39 miles) northeast of Roatan on the Isles de la Bahia in the Caribbean, the USGS.

Roatan is the biggest of the Bahia islands which are a major draw for American and European tourists.

Residents of the islands said they felt three quakes, Salazar said. The longest lasted more than 30 seconds and was felt across Honduras. The other two were about five seconds.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the tsunami watch immediately following the quake, but lifted it later when no reports of giant waves were made.

The last major earthquake to rattle the Central American nation was a 6.7 magnitude temblor in July 1999, the USGS said.
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