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Quake rattles Venezuela's capital city

September 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
An earthquake shook Venezuela's capital and nearby states Saturday, injuring 14 people and causing damage to a few buildings.The U.S. Geological Survey reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 for the quake, saying the epicenter was off Venezuela's Caribbean coast 65 miles (110 kilometers) west of Caracas. The head of Venezuela's seismological agency, Francisco Garces, put the quake at magnitude 6.2, followed by an aftershock registering 4.0.

Two young people, ages 9 and 26, suffered serious leg injuries, and 12 other people had minor injuries, Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said.

El Aissami said western Falcon state reported the most structural problems, with 17 houses and two other buildings damaged. Two houses were reported damaged in neighboring Lara state, where the wall of a medical clinic also collapsed, state civil protection director Hector Vargas told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency.

Buildings swayed as the quake rocked Caracas about 3:40 p.m. local time (4:10 p.m. EDT, 20:10GMT). Only a few people evacuated buildings to stand outside as a rainstorm slowed traffic. No injured were reported in the capital, El Aissami said.

Cities in nearby Carabobo and Aragua states were also jolted, but did not experience major problems.

Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello said there were no reports of major infrastructure damage. No problems were reported at oil refineries or other installations in Venezuela's key oil industry.

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