Friday 13th May 2011

Expats living in Spain were recovering yesterday after dealing with a double earthquake that killed nine people and injured many others.

An estimated 15,000 people were left homeless in Spain’s south-east city of Lorca after a double earthquake rocked the city and caused damage to 20,000 buildings in the area. All 9 deaths and 167 injuries were caused by falling masonry from the damaged buildings.

Experts claim that the buildings should not have collapsed during the quake—which, registering 5.2 on the Richter scale, was a thousand times smaller than that experienced in Japan last month—and that all 9 fatalities could have been avoided. Speaking in UK newspaper The Express, Luis Eugenio Suarez, president of Spain’s Geological Association, claimed that the deaths should not have happened and that the collapsing masonry was the result of sub-standard building quality: “Murcia, Andalucia and the Levante are areas of seismic risk. So they should have been prepared. An earthquake of 5.2 is not sufficiently intense to collapse structures,” he said.

Speaking to The Express, one British expat described the terror she experienced, “It was terrifying, absolutely awful.

“There were two quakes, a smaller one followed by a much, much bigger one. When the second one struck I was sitting at a table outside my house phoning a friend.

“The whole house shook, the ground shook. I was holding on to the table but that was shaking just as much as I was.

“It’s devastating for the area,” she said.

Speaking to another UK newspaper, The Sun, another British expat likened the quake to a bomb blast: "It was like a bomb going off. Shop windows were falling out and cracks appeared in walls. People were running out with blood all over them.

There are thousands of people out on the streets without a home. The scenes in town are indescribable."

The quakes were so strong that they were felt across the entire Mircia region, with tremors registered in Cartagena, Aguilas and as far away as Albacete.

Lorca’s mayor Francisco Jodar has calculated 80 per cent of buildings in the town of 90,000 inhabitants have suffered structural damage.

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