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Strong earthquake hits Martinique

Damaged building in Fort-de-France, Martinique - 29/11/2007
The quake's epicentre was 40km from Fort-de-France, Martinique

A strong earthquake measuring 7.4 magnitude has hit near the island of Martinique in the eastern Caribbean, the US Geological Survey has said.

The earthquake struck at 1500 (1900 GMT) off the north-west coast of Martinique at a depth of 145.4 kilometres (90.4 miles).

Two people were injured, official Lorne Martin told Radio Martinique.

There have been unconfirmed reports that some buildings have collapsed in Martinique's capital, Fort-de-France.

The earthquake was centred 40km (25 miles) north-west of Fort-de-France, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

'Everything shook'

"For the moment, a building and a bank have collapsed," a police source in Fort-de-France told the French news agency AFP.

Callers to Radio Martinique described their fear as the quake struck.

"My house shook so hard I thought it was going to fall. The door, the windows, everything shook," the Associated Press reported one caller as saying.

Map showing earthquake zone

"I wouldn't expect major damage because the quake has some depth," Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado told AP.

There were also reports that the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica had felt the quake strongly.

Residents on islands further across the eastern Caribbean - as far away as Puerto Rico to the north and Trinidad and Tobago to the south - told the USGS that they had felt the quake.

The tremor was also felt hundreds of miles away in South America.

In the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, 500 miles (800km) from the epicentre, some people evacuated office buildings, Reuters news agency reported.



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