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Strong earthquake hits Venezuela, felt in Valencia and Caracas

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A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 has struck northwest Venezuela, with shaking felt in Valencia, Caracas, Barquisimeto, and neighboring Colombia, officials say.

The tremor, which struck at 4:59 a.m. on Thursday, was centered about 5 kilometers northeast of San Diego, 15 kilometers west of San Joaquín, or 17 kilometers northeast of Valencia.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5. It struck at a depth of 10 kilometers, making it a very shallow earthquake.

Shaking was widely felt across the region, waking up many people, especially in San Diego and Valencia. Some buildings in nearby cities, including Caracas, were evacuated as a precaution.

“It felt very strong. Noisy and long,” one resident near the epicenter told EMSC. An aftershock, which measured 5.0, struck about 25 minutes later, at 5:24 a.m.

Computer models from the USGS estimate that up to 6 million people may have felt the earthquake, including 1.1 million people who could have experienced “strong” to “very strong” shaking.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

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