Strong 5.5 quake rattles Venezuela before dawn; people flee

People stand on the street after an earthquake was felt across northern Venezuela, in Caracas. (Reuters)
Updated 27 December 2018
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Strong 5.5 quake rattles Venezuela before dawn; people flee

  • Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said there were no major damages or casualties
  • While earthquakes are common in Venezuela, they tend to be less frequent and not as strong as those that hit elsewhere in South America

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: A strong earthquake jolted Venezuelans from their sleep early Thursday, forcing residents in the capital to evacuate buildings in their pajamas before sunrise. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The 5.5 magnitude quake struck just before 5 a.m. Thursday (1000 GMT) and was centered near the town of San Diego, 165 kilometers (100 miles) west of Caracas, the capital. It had a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers) and was felt across seven states, along with a 5.0 magnitude aftershock a few minutes later.
Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said there were no major damages or casualties. Photos on social media showed large cracks to some buildings and fallen walls and debris from historic facades in San Diego, a suburb of Venezuela’s third-largest city, Valencia.
While earthquakes are common in Venezuela, they tend to be less frequent and not as strong as those that hit elsewhere in South America like neighboring Colombia, Chile and Peru.
Daniel Salazar said she ran nervously from bed in search of her 76-year-old mother and found her standing next to their Christmas tree, which was swaying back and forth.
“My entire body is shaking, I’m not sure if from the cold or the scare we experienced,” said Salazar, who was standing outside her high-rise Caracas apartment before dawn.
The quake follows a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in August — the country’s strongest in more than a century — that rattled residents across Venezuela and was felt as far away as in neighboring Colombia and Guyana.


10 killed in car bomb attack in southern Afghanistan

Updated 2 min 28 sec ago

10 killed in car bomb attack in southern Afghanistan

  • The attack also hit the hospital in the city
  • Taliban said the attack was against the National Directorate of Security

KABUL: A car bomb attack targeting an intelligence services building in the southern Afghan city of Qalat on Thursday left at least 10 people dead and 85 wounded, the governor of Zabul province told AFP.
“This morning a car bomb targeted the NDS in Qalat of Zabul. The regional hospital of Zabul was also located there and has been destroyed in the attack,” said Rahmatullah Yarmal.
The bombing was later claimed by a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who said the attack was against the National Directorate of Security.
The blast in Zabul is just the latest in a string of deadly Taliban bombings across the country as violence intensifies before the end of the summer fighting season.
The increase in fighting also comes after US President Donald Trump earlier this month abruptly ended talks with the Taliban following nearly a year of seeking a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war.
Trump’s declaration that the talks were “dead” spurred the Taliban to declare last week that the only other option was more fighting, sparking fears of more attacks ahead of presidential elections at the end of the month.
A BBC investigation released on Monday claimed that 74 people were killed every day on average in August, with 611 incidents resulting in 2,307 deaths.