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Earthquake Shakes Western Colombia

January 25, 1999

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ An earthquake struck two western state capitals in Colombia on Monday, collapsing buildings and shaking offices and apartment buildings in the capital.

No information was immediately available on casualties or property damage from the quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 5.8, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

The epicenter of the quake was in western Valle del Cauca state, about 140 miles from the capital, Bogota. The quake was felt for about 15 seconds in Bogota.

Television images from Pereira, the capital of western Risaralda state, showed several demolished buildings, a taxi cab flattened under fallen debris and the body of a woman trapped under heavy debris.

Residents also were seen frantically trying to extract victims trapped below the debris of a fallen building in Armenia, the capital of neighboring Quindio state, in Colombia’s central coffee producing region.

Pereira’s mayor, Luis Alberto Duque, told Radionet radio that some residents were slightly injured and that he had declared a 12-hour curfew beginning Monday evening.

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