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Counting the cost of the Murcia earthquake

Fri 13th May 2011

After the initial panic, disruption and uncertainty, the Military and other emergency services have been able to evaluate and take stock of the situation following the earthquake in Lorca, Murcia.

Barely 36 hours after the first of two earthquakes struck the town and a total of nine fatalities have been confirmed, including one child and two pregnant women. 130 people required treatment for a range of injuries - many associated with being struck by falling masonry.

The remaining physical and social damage to the town is surprising by European standards. The fact that many of the towns buildings and structures date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, has resulted in an estimated 20'000 - 80% - of the town's buildings suffering damage of varying severity. This has resulted in 15,000 of the town's 93,000 residents being forced out of their homes for the foreseeable future.

The Red Cross handed out 10,500 blankets and 2,000 fold-up beds to those unable to, or too scared to, return to their homes. The PM confirmed that so far a total of 370 tents had been dispatched to the area to provide temporary accommodation for 3'500 people spread over 4 camps.

With regional elections due to be held less than 10 days from now, Mayor Francisco Jodar has called upon the central government to allow the town to postpone voting until after more pressing priorities can be dealt with.

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