BOGOTA: A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Colombia on Tuesday, shaking buildings in several cities including the capital, Bogota, where residents poured into the streets in panic, but there were no reports of serious injuries or significant damage.
The quake’s epicenter was located near the eastern city of Bucaramanga, about 272 kilometers (169 miles) northeast of Bogota, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But at 147 km (91 miles) below ground, the temblor was deep, which tends to limit the severity.
“The impact is small and up to now there are no reports of victims or injuries,” said a statement from the presidency’s emergency response coordination team e-mailed over an hour after the quake.
Local radio said the quake was also strongly felt in Medellin, the Andean country’s second largest city. Venezuelan cities near the border, including Maracaibo and San Cristobal, also felt the quake, according to its government.
“It has been 20 years since it shook like that,” said Bogota street vendor Ismael Oviedo, 65. “It scared me.”
Cellphone networks were jammed in the first minutes following the earthquake.
State-run oil company Ecopetrol said the Barrancabermeja refinery, in the province where the quake struck, was working normally and there were no reports of damage.
Mountainous Colombia is situated within the earthquake-prone “ring of fire” region. Minor tremors are occasionally felt in Bogota, but are rarely strong.
One major quake in 1999 killed around 1,000 in the large towns of the country’s western coffee-growing region.