Earthquake shakes southern Mexico, hospital damaged

Wednesday, January 30th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(OAXACA, Mexico) - A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico on Wednesday, sending frightened people running into the streets but causing no reported injuries.

Mexico's National Seismological Service said the 5.1-magnitude quake was centered near the Veracruz-Oaxaca state line by the Rio Papaloapan river. The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center calculated the magnitude at 5.5.

The quake was felt strongly in the state capital, Oaxaca city, a major tourist center. Fearing their houses might collapse, many people raced into the streets in their pajamas.

But Oaxaca state's civil defense secretary, Heliodoro Diaz Escarraga, said the only damage reported were cracks in the walls of some buildings, including the hospital in Tuxtepec, 210 miles southeast of Mexico City.

In neighboring Veracruz state, officials told the government news agency Notimex that a hospital in San Andres Tuxtla and a bus station also suffered minor damage.

Electricity and telephone service was cut off to some areas, but was soon restored, Notimex reported.