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Thousands of Spaniards flee after deadly earthquakes

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Worried about aftershocks, thousands of Spaniards fled the agricultural city that was hit by two deadly earthquakes.

Many people also spent the night outside following the back-to-back earthquakes that killed nine people and injured dozens.

Volunteer workers gave out blankets in makeshift camps.

The two quakes, magnitude 4.4 and 5.2, struck Wednesday in a matter of hours. The epicenter was located near the southeastern city of Lorca.

A major cleanup effort is under way. Stores, restaurants, and schools were closed as the sirens of police vehicles and ambulances filled the air and helicopters hovered overhead.

Thirty people remained hospitalized Thursday. Only a few buildings were destroyed, but the quakes sent brick building facades and parts of terraces plunging into the streets and caused damage to hundreds of apartment buildings.

Lorca also suffered quakes of roughly the same magnitude in 1999, 2002 and 2005 that caused damage, but no injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.