Quake rattles Los Angeles, no immediate reports of damage

(Reuters) – An earthquake of 4.2 magnitude hit about a mile (2 km) north of the Los Angeles community of Pacoima on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Though relatively small in magnitude, the quake, which struck at 4:29 a.m. Pacific time (1129 GMT), was felt in much of the Los Angeles area, social media reports said. A second quake of 3.3 magnitude struck nine minutes later, the survey said.

People on social media reported feeling the quake in areas such as North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, with some saying they did not receive a #ShakeAlert message on their phones.

“Felt it in Sherman Oaks! Woke us up from a dead sleep. No alert on the phone, though,” Twitter user Joe Hubbard said.

Another Twitter user, Lee A Houck, said she received an alert after the shaking began.

“Usually there’s more notice to drop, cover, hold on,” Houck said.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Edmund Blair and Steve Orlofsky)

Major quake strikes off Alaska, briefly sounding tsunami warning

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck near the Alaskan peninsula late Tuesday, shaking buildings, but there were no immediate reports of injuries and the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center canceled an earlier warning of potentially hazardous waves.

In Kodiak, the largest community in the earthquake area on an island south of Anchorage, some residents posted video on social media of people walking up to the high school, which was serving as a shelter, and of sirens sounding alarms.

The quake struck off the coast, 65 miles (105 km) south-south east of Perryville, Alaska, at a depth of 17.4 miles (28 km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for the coastal areas of south Alaska, the Alaskan Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, but about two hours later, just after midnight, it canceled the warning.

Early evidence suggests that the quake, which was felt 500 miles (805 km) away in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, struck the “Shumagin Gap” between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, state seismologist Mike West said. Because the area was previously unruptured, it is in theory overdue for a very big earthquake, he said in a statement.

Jeremy Zidek, spokesman for the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said emergency officials were trying to contact people in all the affected communities.

The closest is Sand Point, a town of about 1,000 on another island off the tip of the Alaskan Peninsula. Sand Point has been evacuated and sounded its emergency sirens, Zidek said.

“I believe that there’s some damage from the shaking, but they have not been able to confirm that,” he said, adding that he had heard no reports of serious injuries.

Other towns had sounded their alarms and started evacuations, he said. It was unclear what damage may have occurred.

In Homer, a Kenai Peninsula town of about 5,800 people, residents in low-lying areas were told to use the city’s high school as a shelter, according to local public radio there.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Radhika Anilumar in Bengaluru and Yereth Rosen in Alaska; Editing by Alex Richardson and Leslie Adler)

Major quake hits southern Mexico, triggers local Pacific tsunami

By Julia Love

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.4 struck the coast of southern Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least one person, buckling paved roads, and setting off a tsunami in nearby Pacific coastal areas.

One person died in the state of Oaxaca, Governor Alejandro Murat said, after the quake hit the Pacific coastal state mid-morning.

The country’s seismological service said a tsunami on the Oaxaca coast was ongoing, with the sea level having risen 60 centimeters (2 feet) at Huatulco beach, a popular destination for U.S. and Canadian tourists.

Mexico’s civil protection agency recommended that residents move away from the coastline. Videos on social media had earlier shown the ocean’s water receding in Oaxaca, a mountainous state that is also home to coffee plantations and Spanish colonial architecture.

Miguel Candelaria, 30, was working at his computer in his family home in the Oaxaca town of Juchitan when the ground began to tremble. He ran outside with relatives, but they had to stop in the middle of the street as the pavement buckled and rocked.

“We couldn’t walk… the street was like chewing gum,” said Candelaria, 30.

Neighbors screamed in terror and some shouted out warnings to run from the electricity poles that looked poised to fall, said Candelaria, who works in telecommunications marketing.

Quakes of magnitudes over 7 are major earthquakes capable of widespread, heavy damage. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico in 2017 killed 355 people in the capital and the surrounding states.

Tuesday’s quake set off a tsunami warning for the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central and South America. Waves of up to one meter (3.28 ft) were possible on the Mexican coast, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned.

Buildings shook in Mexico City, hundreds of miles away.

Helicopters flew low over the Roma and Condesa districts of the capital, apparently looking for damage in streets where many buildings still show the scars of the 2017 quake.

The city’s mayor said there were two people injured but no major damage from the quake, which hit as millions of people were at home in lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of Tuesday’s quake was located 69 km (43 miles) northeast of the town of Pochutla.

It was very shallow, only 26 km (16 miles) below the earth’s surface, which would have amplified the shaking.

Near to the epicenter, Magdalena Castellanos Fermin was in the village of Santiago Astata when the quake struck, sending large rocks tumbling down from the hillside and alarming residents, she told Reuters by telephone.

“It was really intense, really strong,” she said.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel, Julia Love, Adriana Barrera, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Dave Graham and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City and Sandra Maler in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake rocks Southern California, no immediate reports of damage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck on Wednesday in the California desert about 150 miles (241 km) northeast of Los Angeles, but there were no reports of damage or injuries in the sparsely populated area.

The temblor hit in a sparsely populated area near the Mojave Desert community of Searles Valley but was felt across Southern California, as far away as Los Angeles itself.

A series of strong of earthquakes and aftershocks struck that area near the small town of Ridgecrest on July 4 and 5 of last year. Such quakes are not uncommon in seismically active California.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler and Kim Coghill)

Strong quake hits Nevada but no immediate reports of injury, damage

(Reuters) – A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 struck a remote, sparsely populated area of Nevada about halfway between Reno and Las Vegas early on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage and casualties, according to a Nye County Sheriff’s dispatcher.

The temblor occurred about 35 miles (57 km) west-northwest of Tonopah, the seat of Nye County, at a depth of 4.7 miles (7.6 km), the USGS said on its website.

It could be felt as far away as Sacramento, California, 350 miles away, according to social media posts.

Nye County, about 200 miles north of Las Vegas, includes a portion of Death Valley National Park. It has 43,000 residents spread out over an area that is roughly equivalent to the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combinded.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Steve Orlofsky)

Quake hits Zagreb, PM urges social distancing as residents flee buildings

By Igor Ilic

ZAGREB (Reuters) – A large earthquake struck near the Croatian capital Zagreb on Sunday, critically injuring a teenager caught in a collapsed building in the city center and prompting appeals for social distancing after people rushed out onto the streets.

Sixteen other people were injured, including another minor who was badly hurt, and the 5.3 magnitude quake caused fires and power blackouts in parts of the capital, hospital and emergency services said.

People ran from their apartment buildings to their cars as pieces of the facades started falling off. Dozens of cars were also damaged by debris which fell off buildings.

Authorities said around 70 buildings were damaged.

Damages on Zagreb’s cathedral and debris are seen following an earthquake, in Zagreb, Croatia March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Ministers warned people not to walk close to buildings and beware of falling debris due to a strong wind. They also urged them to stay apart from one another as the country struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“We are fighting two enemies at the moment, one is invisible and the other is unpredictable,” Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said.

So far, Croatia has reported 254 cases of the virus and one death.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the government would provide accommodation in the students’ dormitory in Zagreb for up to 1,800 people whose homes were damaged.

He said the quake was the biggest to hit Zagreb in 140 years. It struck 6 km (4 miles) north of the city and was felt across the Western Balkans.

Zarko Rasic, head of the Zagreb Emergency Medicine Institute, a children’s hospital, said a 15-year-old was in a critical condition after being found by an emergency services team under a collapsed building and another minor had been admitted with head injuries from a falling roof.

The Zagreb Fire Department said firefighting and rescue operations were ongoing at several locations.

Plenkovic said the army had been called in to help clean up debris in Zagreb and urged citizens to “stay outside and keep your distance”.

“We are facing two crises now,” Plenkovic told a news conference. “Let us not forget the coronavirus epidemics … Individual discipline and responsibility is of utmost importance.”

Women walk past ruins of a building following an earthquake, in Zagreb, Croatia March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Local media reported that many people had headed out of Zagreb, prompting police to organize checkpoints on the highway to check if they were violating self-isolation.

The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) downgraded the magnitude of the quake to 5.3 from an initial reading of 6.0. Croatia’s state seismology service said there had been 30 aftershocks.

The government said it would estimate the damage in the coming weeks and ask the European Commission for aid.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.4, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude earthquake.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru, Igor Ilic in Zagreb and Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo; Editing by Sam Holmes/Christopher Cushing/Susan Fenton/Philippa Fletcher)

Utah hit with 5.7-magnitude quake, inbound flights from Salt Lake City diverted

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday it had evacuated the air control tower at Salt Lake City International Airport and halted flights after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake was reported nearby.

The FAA said it “has implemented a ground stop for (Salt Lake City) and is diverting inbound aircraft to other airports.” The FAA’s Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center is handling all air traffic in the area.

Salt Lake City is the 23rd busiest U.S. airport and a hub for Delta Air Lines.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Major quake shakes Miami and the Caribbean, tsunami threat passes

(Reuters) – A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the western Caribbean on Tuesday, triggering evacuations as buildings shook across the Cayman Islands, in Jamaica, and in downtown Miami, but with no initial reports of significant damage.

The epicenter of the quake was in the sea between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles (10 km).

The International Tsunami Information Center said an earlier threat of a tsunami wave had largely passed. Minor sea level fluctuations up to 1 feet (30 cm) were still possible, it said.

In Miami, Florida, several buildings downtown had groups of people standing outside who said they had been evacuated.

The Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue department said it responded to multiple calls about high rise buildings swaying.

“As of now, there are no injuries or structural damages. Residents/visitors are advised to stay calm,” the department said on Twitter.

Officials across the region had no initial reports of major damage, despite the size of the quake.

Angie Watler, a spokeswoman for police on Cayman Brac, the island nearest the epicenter of the quake, said members of the public had reported some damage to buildings and to a swimming pool at the Carib Sands resort on the south of the island.

Videos on social media, apparently from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, showed water sloshing out of pools during the quake.

Watler said there were no reports so far of injuries but that authorities were still making checks on the area.

A Cayman Islands official said there had been some reports of sinkholes following the quake.

The quake was also felt in several provinces across Cuba, the government said. It was not strongly felt in the capital of Havana, according to a Reuters witness.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Additional reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Rosalba O’Brien)

Turkey ends rescue efforts after earthquake toll reaches 41

By Umit Bektas

ELAZIG, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey called off rescue operations on Monday in eastern areas hit by Friday’s earthquake after emergency workers recovered the body of a final person they were searching for in a collapsed building, bringing the death toll to 41, authorities said.

The magnitude 6.8 quake caused 37 deaths in Elazig province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of Ankara, and four in neighboring Malatya. More than 1,600 others were hurt, including 86 still being treated in hospitals, though none were in serious condition, the government said.

Forty-five people had been rescued from under ruined buildings, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD) said.

Authorities have warned residents not to enter damaged buildings because of the danger of collapse and further aftershocks, leaving many without a home in a region where temperatures fell to -6C (21F) on Monday morning.

Addressing reporters in Elazig, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the government would provide financial support to those whose homes were damaged. Some 1,000 temporary homes would be built, and some schools and mosques were now being used as shelters, he added.

Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said authorities had started demolishing 22 damaged buildings in Elazig. Construction of some 2,000 new houses in the province was expected to be completed by year end, he added.

Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul. In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.

(Reporting by Umit Bektas and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Dominic Evans)

Ten years after devastating quake, Haitians struggle to survive

By Stefanie Eschenbacher

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Every morning as the sun rises over the dusty, overgrown ruins of the Haitian capital’s iconic cathedral, Paul Christandro, who lived nearby all his life, thinks about the day ten years ago when he watched it come down, killing his friends.

On Jan. 12, 2010, the impoverished island nation was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands and left many more homeless. It lasted just 35 seconds, but its scars are still visible.

International organizations pledged billions of dollars in aid as the scale of the disaster became obvious, though with Christandro and many others still in temporary housing its use has come under intense scrutiny.

Bad governance, excessive bureaucracy, waste and inflated contracts that were given mostly to foreign companies have been blamed for the lack of progress, which was hampered further by corruption and political power struggles.

“Every day when I get up, I think about it,” said the 23-year-old Christandro under the scorching Caribbean sun in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The panicked screams of people buried under the rubble remain as ingrained in his memory as the silent facial expressions of those killed, he said.

“I think about my friends and wonder what I should do with my life,” said Christandro, an electrician who, like so many in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, tries to make ends meet working ad-hoc jobs or scavenging.

Estimates of the number of dead vary widely, from below 100,000 to as high as the government’s 316,000. There is also no consensus over how much aid Haiti actually received – or what constitutes aid – but most experts put it at more than $10 billion.

Outside the cathedral, often called Haiti’s Notre Dame for its impressive architecture and meticulous detail, he shares a mattress and a roof made from thin plastic sheets with friends who lost their homes and belongings.

‘A NEW SETTLEMENT’

Others left the chaos of the capital to start over. In Canaan, a one-hour motor bike ride away, more than 300,000 people settled on what was once a pristine hillside. There, construction work is ubiquitous.

“The earthquake has given us a new settlement,” President Jovenel Moise told Reuters in an interview. He called for better collaboration between aid donors and recipients. The Haitian government received only a fraction of the aid.

Among the many new arrivals to the hillside settlement is the Louis family, who built a home from wood panels and a tin roof. Now, they are working on a concrete construction. Daughter Christelle Louis was seven years old when their house collapsed as she was doing her homework.

“I didn’t understand what was happening. It was the first time I felt an earthquake, and my leg was injured,” she said. The high school student, who dreams of becoming a doctor, said Canaan offered her family a fresh start.

In Haiti, a country that was extremely poor even before the earthquake, nearly 60% of the population survives on less than $2.40 a day. Due to a combination of weather, geography and sub-standard construction, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, which have eroded progress.

Moise, who became president in 2017, said he was unsure how aid money had been spent. “We don’t have much to show for it.”

In Camp Karade near Port-au-Prince, which was first set up as an emergency shelter, there is now electricity in many makeshift houses and public access to clean water via tanks from which residents can fill canisters.

Hip hop and Creole rhythms blasted from giant speakers and goats ambled around trash heaps piling up between temporary constructions that have morphed into seemingly permanent housing.

Eliese Desca, 66, one of many Haitians who lost their homes, said she had little hope that things would change for the better. “Our lives revolve around finding something to eat,” she said.

Jake Johnston, a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who specializes in Haiti, said that while the total amount of promised foreign aid was large, little trickled down to those on the ground.

The money helped to save lives but did not achieve the overall transformation many sought, Johnston said.

“The aid system is broken,” he said. “At least there is a recognition that it has been a failure.”

(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher in Port-au-Prince; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Bill Berkrot)