Strong Quake Strikes in Northeastern Venezuela

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Strong Quake Strikes in Northeastern Venezuela

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People evacuated from their homes in Caracas. The nearby David’s Tower sustained damage to its upper floors.CreditAriana Cubillos/Associated Press

By Ana Vanessa Herrero

CARACAS, Venezuela — A powerful earthquake hit northeastern Venezuela on Tuesday with a jolt that shook Caracas and Caribbean islands near the Venezuelan coast.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, Néstor Reverol, the interior minister, said in a televised address. He said that the quake had affected five states and that 20,000 emergency workers had been deployed.

“It was just a very scary moment,” said Harrison Domínguez, 28, who lives in Yaguaraparo, about 12 miles from the quake’s epicenter. When the quake struck about 5:30 p.m., he said, “the light posts were moving as if they were trees during a hurricane.”

Mr. Domínguez said the shaking had caused walls to crumble in nearby homes, although he did not see more extensive damage.

In Caracas, the capital, an unfinished skyscraper known as David’s Tower sustained damage to its upper floors, Mr. Reverol said. Throughout Caracas, workers quickly evacuated office buildings after the shaking, which lasted about 30 seconds.

People in Trinidad also felt strong tremors, and videos uploaded to social media showed debris falling on cars, items flying off store shelves and damaged buildings.

Amateur video posted on social media from Caracas showed office employees emptying into the streets. There were unconfirmed reports of intermittent telephone and internet disruptions.

The shaking also hit Ciudad Bolívar, hundreds of miles south in Venezuela’s interior, according to amateur video posted on Twitter.

The United States Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.3 and said it had a depth of 76 miles. Its epicenter was 12 miles northwest of Yaguaraparo, Venezuela, near the Caribbean coast, about 100 miles west of Trinidad and Tobago.

The quake was also felt in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, about 900 miles away, The Associated Press reported.

In 1997, an earthquake in eastern Venezuela killed dozens.

Will Dudding contributed reporting from New York.

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