Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Venezuela to demolish 33 homes after 5.1-magnitude quake

A staff member for the Venezuelan Foundation of Seismological Research continues evaluations following a 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Saturday. Venezuela is set to demolish 33 homes in its Mérida state after more than 80 aftershocks followed the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Fundación Venezolana de Investigaciones Sismológicas

By Andrew V. Pestano:

CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Venezuela is set to demolish 33 homes in its Mérida state after more than 80 aftershocks and a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck the South American country.

The Venezuelan Foundation of Seismological Research (FUNVISIS) announced more than 84 aftershocks have afflicted Venezuela's Andean region since Saturday's 5.1-magnitude quake in Mérida that struck at 2:28 a.m. local time. The temblor affected 142 families: 293 adults, 165 children and 67 elderly.

"So far, we have had more than 80 aftershocks," FUNVISIS engineer Aura Fernández said Tuesday. "A few minutes ago [12:05 p.m.] ... there was a 4.2-magnitude aftershock and one more recently of 2.7."

Fernández said FUNVISIS has kept constant communication with authorities in Mérida as inspections were carried out in areas near the epicenter of the quakes.

"It is unpredictable to know how many days the aftershocks will last and it is important to always remain informed through our social media, where FUNVISIS gives recommendations to be less vulnerable to such natural events," Fernández added.

Mérida's Civil Protection Director Gerardo Rojas Gerardo Rojas said 106 homes were evaluated after the quake -- 33 of which will be demolished after sustaining extensive damage, El Universal reported.

Rojas said 81 homes were partially damaged and two churches suffered wall cracks, adding the aftershocks are of low or moderate intensity.

Civil Protection geographer Nerio Ramírez said most of the damage to houses was found on ceilings, in small sections of the walls where friezes subsided and in some structural columns, adding that some of these homes are made up of mud or adobe bricks used many years ago.

The latest seismic activity in Venezuela was a 3.1-magnitude quake on Wednesday at a depth of about 8 miles near the town of El Pilar in the Sucre state.

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