Mexicali, Mexico (AFP) April 5, 2010
Aftershocks shook western Mexico-US border areas on Monday following a major 7.2-earthquake which left two people dead in Mexico and rocked buildings as far away as Los Angeles.
Emergency teams assessed damage to roads, buildings and bridges after the Sunday afternoon tremor jolted millions in a wide area including San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix, Arizona in the United States.
"One (person) was crushed to death when a wall fell down and another when a house collapsed," Jose Guadalupe Osuna, governor of Mexico's northwestern Baja California state, told a news conference on Monday.
At least 233 people were injured, Osuna said after declaring a state of emergency in state capital Mexicali, the scene of the worst damages where the main hospital was evacuated, some 60 kilometers (38 miles) from the epicenter.
Mexicali civil protection officials said late Monday at least 3,500 people had taken refuge in temporary shelters.
The quake, which struck at 3:40 pm (2240 GMT) on Sunday, had a depth of just 10 kilometers (six miles) and was centered 26 kilometers (16 miles) southwest of Guadalupe Victoria in Baja California.
It was the strongest registered in the earthquake-prone Mexican state since records began 100 years ago, the National Seismological Service said.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon experienced one of scores of aftershocks late Monday as he offered words of support to earthquake victims on a visit to Mexicali.
"The earth seems to be adjusting itself a little," Calderon said.
Thousands of people had spent Sunday night outside their homes in the Mexican border city of some 900,000 inhabitants, as well as in the city of Tijuana, across the border from the US city of San Diego.
"The earthquake was so strong and the aftershocks are continuing so we decided to sleep outside," said Sandra Mendonza, who slept in her car with her family outside Mexicali.
Civil Protection services assessed damages following reports of toppled buildings, cracked roads, ruptured water canals, downed telephone polls and power outages.
Electricity officials meanwhile worked on both sides of the border to reestablish interrupted services while classes were suspended indefinitely in Mexicali.
A firefighter at a station just outside the city told the Los Angeles Times that fires caused by the quake destroyed at least six homes after damaging propane tanks and severing electricity lines.
There were no immediate reports of deaths in the United States, allowing residents of California, Arizona and Nevada who live in perpetual fear of "The Big One" -- the massive and probably deadly earthquake seismologists predict will one day hit the region -- to breathe a sigh of relief.
Still, the worst may not be over, with experts warning another quake could hit in the coming days.
"Each earthquake we have triggers a chance for a bigger earthquake in the next few days," California Institute of Technology seismologist Lucy Jones said.
The major temblor was the third in as many months to strike the Americas -- a January 12 earthquake of magnitude 7.0 killed an estimated 230,000 people in Haiti and in Chile, a massive 8.8-quake on February 27 left an estimated 452 people dead in one of the most powerful quakes ever.
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Two killed, scores injured in major Mexican earthquake
Mexicali, Mexico (AFP) April 5, 2010
Aftershocks rattled the western Mexico-US border on Monday following a major 7.2-earthquake which left two people dead in Mexico and rocked buildings as far away as Los Angeles. Emergency teams assessed damage to roads, buildings and bridges after the Sunday afternoon tremor jolted millions in a wide area including Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. ... read more
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