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Quake Shakes Parts of Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia

December 2, 1991

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ A moderate earthquake shook the Balkans on Monday, damaging thousands of buildings and leaving 3,500 homeless near the epicenter in western Romania, officials said.

Five people were injured in the quake, which seismologists said registered 5.7 on the Richter scale. The quake also was felt in parts of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The seismologists in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, said the quake was centered near the Yugoslav border, 45 miles south of the western city of Timisoara.

Officials in Timisoara said most of the damage from the quake was in the villages of Voiteni and Ghilad, home to about 4,000 people.

″The panic is massive because 90 percent of the houses are seriously damaged and about to fall down,″ said a Timisoara city official, Heinrich Drobny.

Mayor Virgil Suci in the town of Deda was quoted by Romanian state radio as saying most of the 2,000 buildings in the village of Opatisa were severely damaged.

Five people were reported to have suffered slight injuries.

Officials said about 500 children were among the estimated 3,500 homeless, and that they were being taken to Timisoara for care.

Preparations were under way to give the homeless shelter in tents that were used to shelter people whose homes were damaged by a quake in the nearby Banloc area in July.

Outside Romania, lamps swayed in buildings in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade, 80 miles south of Timisoara, and in Szeged in southern Hungary.

The Richter scale is a gauge of the energy released by an earthquake, as measured by ground motion recorded on a seismograph. A quake of magnitude 5.7 is capable of causing considerable damage.

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