Quake rocks US-Mexico borders

One dead, 100 injured; buildings, roads damaged

Quake rocks US-Mexico borders


Mexican civil protection officials said at least one man died in a collapsed house and about 100 more were injured in Sunday’s quake.

Another person was killed in a car accident on a darkened street in Mexicali, a border city near the epicenter of Sunday’s quake, which was almost entirely without power.

Some buildings in Mexicali appeared to have structural damage and many had cracked floors, walls and broken windows, though no major buildings collapsed.

A liquefied natural gas import terminal operated by Sempra Energy south of Tijuana was not damaged by the quake, a company spokeswoman said.

However, a major highway connecting Mexicali with Tijuana on the Pacific coast was badly damaged by a crack that opened up that was at least a meter deep.

Vacationers returning from their Easter holidays found themselves snarled in huge traffic jams with many motorists reporting difficulty finding fuel.

Despite the relatively light casualties, the powerful quake rattled nerves in the United States and across tremor-prone Latin America in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile this year.

Telephone and electricity crews struggled to restore service in Mexicali and the surrounding area, which is home to more than one million people and is a prosperous center for food processing and assembly for exports.

The relatively shallow quake was centered in a lightly populated area in northeastern Baja California. For several hours a series of aftershocks rocked the area around the epicenter, 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Mexicali.

Across the border in the US town of Calexico, eight downtown blocks were closed off with Border Patrol agents helping police to secure the area against looters.

Several Mexican families wandered the streets carrying suitcases, hoping to spend the night with relatives on the US side of the border.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.2, a magnitude that can cause serious damage to urban areas.

Southern California with its many active geological faults is prone to frequent quakes, and many residents fearfully anticipate the next big one. The last to cause major damage was the 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake in 1994 that left 57 dead and 9,000 injured.

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