May 24, 2008 / 7:44 PM / 11 years ago

At least six killed in Colombian earthquake

BOGOTA (Reuters) - At least six people were killed when a shallow, 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit Colombia on Saturday, destroying homes and shaking buildings in the capital Bogota, where panicked residents fled into the streets.

Three people, including a small baby, were killed when an avalanche crushed their car and three more died in landslides. The quake blocked a highway out of Bogota and flattened ten houses and a church near the epicenter, authorities said.

“They died trapped by landslides,” President Alvaro Uribe told a community meeting where he updated the death toll.

At least eight other people were injured by the quake, which was centered 33 miles east-southeast of Bogota at a depth of 6.2 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The USGS earlier measured the quake at 5.7 magnitude at a depth of 2.2 miles.

Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno told local radio some buildings in the city were slightly damaged, but there were no reports of victims in the Andean country’s capital.

“The report we have so far is that it was strong and some structures have suffered damage,” Moreno said.

One Bogota government building was evacuated after the quake sent a shower of bricks tumbling off one of its walls.

Colombia’s coffee-growing region was hit in 1999 by a 6.2-magnitude quake that killed 1,230 people and left more than 250,000 homeless in the country’s worst natural disaster in the last decade.

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