Aftershocks keep Baja California on edge

April 5, 2010 at 5:05 PM
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GUADALUPE VICTORIA, Mexico, April 5 (UPI) -- Dozens of aftershocks rattled Mexico's Baja California Monday, the day after a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 5.1 temblor occurred about 6:30 a.m. Monday, followed quickly by four more measuring 3 to 3.4, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The newspaper said Tijuana Channel 12 reported 20 houses collapsed in the city's southern neighborhoods. The TV station broadcast images of people camping outside, roads wracked with cracks, a collapsed parking ramp and stores with merchandise littering floors.

The Union-Tribune said classes were called off at the Autonomous University of Baja California and day-care centers are closed.

One resident told Televisa Sunday's quake felt like "the end of the world."

Patricia Preciado Salgado spokeswoman for the Baja California state government, said temporary shelters were being arranged for thousands of people whose homes were damaged.

The big quake Sunday afternoon killed at least two people, injured 100 others and left Mexicali without power, officials said.

Officials said one person died in the collapse of a building in Mexicali and the other was struck and killed by a vehicle as he fled his home, CNN reported.

The quake struck about 16 miles south-southwest of Guadalupe Victoria, about 30 miles south of Mexicali-Calexico and 220 miles southeast of Los Angeles, authorities said. There were reports the quake was felt as far away as Bakersfield, Calif., north of Los Angeles and as far east as Phoenix.

It appeared the border cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali, had the most damage, officials said.

"It's really ugly here," Olga Jimenez, 29, a water company worker in Mexicali, told the Los Angeles Times by telephone. "We felt a really big shake. The walls on houses fell down and people were running in the streets screaming."

People walked across the border from Mexicali into Calexico Sunday after the crossing was closed to northbound vehicular traffic, officials reported.

In Calexico, the quake shattered windows and sent goods flying from store shelves, witnesses said.

"Calexico has suffered a devastating hit," City Manager Victor Carrillo said. "Our downtown is shut down and people everywhere are afraid."

In Mexicali, Calexico and parts of San Diego County, electrical services failed, water was cut off and gas leaks were reported, the Times said. Power and water service were restored in Calexico and surrounding areas but Mexicali was still without electricity or water.

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