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Title: 10 people were killed by a pair of unusually severe earthquakes that shook south-east Spain on Wednesday evening, the Spanish interior ministry said.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Worst hit was the town of Lorca, in the Murcia region, where several buildings were badly damaged. A church bell was seen lying amid rubble ...



Worst hit was the town of Lorca, in the Murcia region, where several buildings were badly damaged. A church bell was seen lying amid rubble on the ground.

“Almost all the churches are damaged,” Francisco Jodar, Lorca’s mayor, told the Cadena Ser radio station. He said people had been hurt in cars and buildings by falling debris. “We are looking inside the collapsed houses to see if there are people inside.”

Mr Jodar said residents were all in the streets for fear of further shocks. “Above all people must avoid panic,” he said.

The second and severest earthquake, shortly before 7pm local time, registered as a 5.3 magnitude tremor, sending frightened residents into the streets of Lorca. Although much weaker than the powerful quake in Japan two months ago that caused a huge tsunami and left nearly 25,000 dead, the tremors were felt across much of southern Spain.

In the capital Madrid, the defence ministry said it was sending army units to Lorca to help deal with the aftermath of the quake. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, deputy prime minister, is to travel to the region to inspect the damage today.

Although Spain is not considered a high-risk zone for earthquakes, tremors are not uncommon. Six years ago, the same region was struck by a slightly smaller quake.

According to Efe, the Spanish news agency, Wednesday’s lethal quake was the country’s most deadly since 1956 and the first since 1969 in Spain to claim lives. In April 1956, 12 people died, 70 were injured and hundreds of buildings damaged in the area around Granada, also in the south.

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