Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Quake shakes African nation

February 23, 2006


— A powerful earthquake struck Mozambique early this morning, shaking buildings and forcing people from hundreds of miles around to dash into the streets for safety. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The magnitude-7.5 quake struck at 12:19 a.m. in southern Mozambique, 140 miles southwest of the coastal city of Beira, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The temblor was felt in neighboring Zimbabwe and as far south as Durban, South Africa, 800 miles away.

Elias Daudi, Mozambique's national director of energy, said on state radio that authorities still do not have any information on casualties or the extent of the damage. He also urged people not to return to their buildings because of possible aftershocks.

State radio said there was an unconfirmed report of a collapsed building in Beira.

Buildings swayed in Maputo, the capital of this Indian Ocean nation, 400 miles south of Beira. Radio reports said hundreds of people fled their homes for the street, as they did in Chimoyo, some 300 miles west of Beira near the border with Zimbabwe.

The quake was shallow, which increases the potential for damage, said Dale Grant, a scientist with the USGS in Golden, Colo., which is a clearinghouse for temblors worldwide. A quake nearing magnitude 8 is capable of causing tremendous damage.

At least five aftershocks were immediately recorded and more were expected in the coming days because of the quake's size, USGS said.


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