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26 February 2024

6.2 magnitude quake rocks Colombia

Damage caused by an earthquake is seen on a house in Betania village in Santander March 10, 2015. (Reuters)


A strong earthquake shook eastern Colombia on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway in the capital and elsewhere but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake had a magnitude of 6.2 and was centered near the city of Bucaramanga, about 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Bogota, according to the US Geological Survey. It was reported to be 91 miles (147 kilometers) deep and shook buildings across the Caribbean coast as well as western Venezuela.

Caracol Radio reported that the government palace in the eastern city of Cucuta had suffered structural damages and two communications towers had been knocked out of service. In Barrancabermeja, bricks from the roof of the city's main church fell to the ground. The city's oil refinery, the country's biggest, was unaffected.

In Bogota, whose residents are accustomed to earthquakes despite Colombia's location in a seismically-active area, office workers poured into the streets after being told to evacuate tall buildings. Photos of fallen roof tiles from the city's new airport circulated on social media but Mayor Gustavo Petro said there were no reports of injuries in the capital.

"What a fright," said Maria Teresa Pearson, a 21-year-old clerk at a corner bakery whose light fixtures began to sway as the building shook for about 30 seconds. "I've never felt anything like this before."