Strong earthquake near Lorca and Murcia, Spain

Recap of May 11, the day of the Lorca earthquake. was alerted by a weak but shallow earthquake shortly after 5 PM. Every day tens of earthquakes of this magnitude are occurring all over the world, so nothing special here.  Shortly after the first shaking we mentioned already the possibility of cracks in walls.  While checking local reports we detected some light damage in the Lorca area and we also got a notice that an elderly institute had to be evacuated. 2 hours later a much stronger and also shallow 5.2 mainshock occurred. It was immediately clear to us that this last quake increased the potential for damage and injuries a lot. Soon thereafter the first reports on damage to private houses, municipality buildings and historic places were published.  Authorities did all what they could to help the unfortunate Lorca people. Stay tuned to as we will also give other news-facts the coming hours.

$$$ - We have just published a new article summarizing the different comments  and felt reports we received since the first earthquake. We truly want to thank our readers for their commenting.  Click here to read the page with Felt Reports.
$$$ - A lot of people are asking themselves why it all happened. Click here to read our in-depth article "Understanding the Lorca, Spain May 11 2011 earthquake"
$$$ - "Earthquake preparedness attitude might have saved some lives"

Situation UPDATE : 8 9 fatalities (including 2 pregnant woman and 1  14 year old child); 3 seriously injured, 324 treated for minor injuries. Several buildings fully or partially collapsed, lots of damage in the city, especially historic buildings.


UPDATE 15/05 - 13:42 UTC : Nearly 1,250 houseless (yellow and red circles) people are Ecuadorians, often housed in old vulnerable houses

UPDATE 13:21 UTC : A video shows the dangerous work of Search and Rescue teams (SAR). In this case a traumatized man is being freed out of the rubble.

UPDATE 13:11 UTC : After every earthquake, the press is a little overacting about aftershocks.  Lorca experienced 2 machine recorded aftershocks with a 1.6 magnitude , almost to weak to even feel it. So people, no problem at all with these weak, almost not noticeable aftershocks. In a already damaged environment magnitudes of +3.5 may have a small risk to further collapse the most unstable debris.

UPDATE 08:11 UTC : Deputy Prime Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba , has said that the government will have to review all building regulations as well as the existing security protocols .

UPDATE 08:07 UTC : Structural engineers have marked a red circle on 161 houses and buildings (NO trespassing).
Yellow markings have been painted on 549 buildings (approx. 5,490 households or 40% of total) (Yellow marking mean that people can pick up their belongings safely, but cannot return home yet).

UPDATE 14/05 - 08:00 UTC : More than 1,600 homes suffered severe structural damage.
10,000 families are still unable to sleep in their own houses, although in most cases their homes will be habitable soon

UPDATE 20:39 UTC : The Spanish government has approved a rental support measure that will pay 6.700 € / year to the Lorquinos (people from Lorca) who lost their houses. The rental support will be paid while new houses or apartments are being reconstructed.

UPDATE 20:37 UTC : Hundreds of people and companies offer to help earthquake victims

UPDATE 20:31 UTC : Among further measures approved today are : aid to individuals in cases of death or total and permanent disability, to individuals for rental housing, for housing reconstruction, local entities, tax measures, damage to crops and livestock, a special tax relief for agricultural activities, measures and social security work, more flexible procurement regime, etc.

UPDATE 20:23 UTC : The Spanish government has promised today that all necessary means will be deployed to  reconstruct Lorca. A "urgent" relief budget  has been approved today. It will be used to pay for urgent house repairs.

UPDATE 13:55 UTC : More than 3,000 people have attended the state funeral. Only 4 coffins could be seen at the ceremony (see picture above). The family of the 5 remaining victims have decided to restrict the ceremony for intimate friends and family members.

UPDATE 13:46 UTC : Sources close to the city administration told the press that 35,000 to 40,000 people will be affected by the damage of the earthquake. Some of them will be obliged to spend a few months away from their own house.

UPDATE 09:53 UTC : At the moment of writing, the funeral of the some of the earthquake victims is going on in Lorca. The Prince and Princes of Asturias, Filipe and Litizia and President Zapatero are attending the funeral.

UPDATE 08:15 UTC : Many homes in Lorca were built in the 1960s before laws existed to construct earthquake resistant buildings.

UPDATE 13/05 - 08:00 UTC : 6,000 people have also spend the a second night in the streets of Lorca. Most of the people sleeping o, the streets are immigrants from Ecuador and from Northern Africa.
Local people who cannot return to their houses due to Yellow or Red circles did spend the night with other family members in the area.

UPDATE 20:57 UTC : We do not know where the green, yellow and red circle or sticker signs were invented, but as far as we know the system was first used with a very good result during the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year.

UPDATE 20:46 UTC : The latest (and probably final) casualty figures are as follows : 9 people killed, 3 seriously injured and 324 with minor injuries

UPDATE 20:39 UTC : The Minister of Public Works and Planning, José Ballesta, has reported that  52' buildings are affected by the quake.  This is about 40 percent of the buildings in Lorca. These numbers are different if compared with an earlier report published this afternoon, that said that 90% was not affected ....
From these 542 affected buildings, 92 buildings or 17% from those inspected received a RED circle. A red circle means access is dangerous and refused. 44% had a green circle marking (safe to enter) and the remaining 39% received a yellow circle, allowing only access to collect furniture and other belongings.

UPDATE 17:31 UTC : Spanish Interior Minister Rubalcaba and the Minister of Defence Carme Chacon have announced that 3500 beds have been made available for victims of the earthquake.

UPDATE 17:14 UTC : The funeral of some of the people caught in the earthquake will take place tomorrow at 11:00 local time. The ceremony will be witnessed by many high ranked people in the country, such as Mr. Zapatero, Jose Blanco and the Prince and Princes from Asturias, Filipe and Letizia.

UPDATE 17:09 UTC : The Spanish government will assemble tomorrow morning and will approve a first aid packet for Lorca. After the meeting, prime minister Zapatero will head to Murcia for other meetings.

UPDATE 16:38 UTC : A team of experts from the "Instituto Andaluz de Geofísican"  has raised concern that building construction in come parts of Lorca was NOT resonance resistant$$$

UPDATE 16:36 UTC : A school building in Totana, a neighboring village, was sealed for damage repair until next Monday.

UPDATE 16:32 UTC : A consortium of insurance companies estimates that the insured cost of the Lorca earthquake would be at least 36 million Euro.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 14:16 UTC : A team of 150 technicians have performed inspection tasks for hours in Lorca and have been responsible for cataloging the colored houses, so that green indicates no danger and house is inhabitable, yellow indicates structural damage but can be accessed with caution to collect belongings, while red has access prohibited.
The aim, according to the mayor, have a rapid damage assessment to send to senior vice president and interior minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who has asked to start work on a bill to aid victims.
About 90% of the buildings have no structural damage.

UPDATE 12:23 UTC : We are sad to tell our readers that one of the seriously injured people died this morning. This brings the death toll to 9. 2 other people were reported as seriously injured.

UPDATE 11:47 UTC : Lorca is getting loads of sympathy from individual people and from other Spanish towns and villages, not only willing to support with words but also donating money to the town of Lorca.

UPDATE 11:36 UTC : The earthquake caused the partial or total collapse of several buildings. Many others have major damage, such as cracks in the walls, roof and cornices damage, or broken frames from windows and doors.

UPDATE 11:34 UTC : There are 72 technicians, architects and engineers inspecting the buildings of Lorca. Arrangements aremade to have a "comfortable and appropriate" site ready for the night.

UPDATE 10:36 UTC : 420 military personnel is helping the local emergency services with Search and Rescue and any other help needed.

UPDATE 10:35 UTC : Almost 20,000 houses, mostly within the city limits, have suffered some kind of damage from yesterdays earthquake.

UPDATE 09:54 UTC : The mayor of Lorca, Mr. Jodar, does not want to see people sleeping in the streets again like it was the case last night. He is offering a stay in hotels, lodges and in tents. The message goes mainly for more than 12,000 people (children and adults), almost all immigrants, who slept last night on the asphalt in the streets and in open air.

UPDATE 09:49 UTC : Health Emergency Services of all neighboring communities have volunteered to assist, but there has been no necessity so far.

UPDATE 09:47 UTC : In total, 270 patients have been transferred from the Hospital Rafael Méndez de Lorca, and about 200 more from the hospital Virgen del Alcázar.

UPDATE 09:40 UTC : The three most seriously injured, including a child, have been taken to hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca.

UPDATE 09:35 UTC : 30 minutes ago authorities have reported that 260 people were treated for various wounds by the Murcia Health Service.

UPDATE 09:27 UTC : The following video link gives an idea of a lucky escape in Lorca. Somebody has been found in the rubble and is being rescued. Only for people with a strong heart ! Click here to watch the video

UPDATE 09:11 UTC : We have localized a good video from EuroNews featuring the best footage we have seen so far.

UPDATE 08:12 UTC : The death toll remains at 8, but the number treated in hospitals for various injuries stands at 167. See below for a full description.

UPDATE 07:46 UTC : Until 3:50 AM (local time) 36 aftershocks shook the Lorca area . Only 12 of them would have been felt. 24 were under a 2 magnitude.  At 22:37 local time, the strongest aftershock measuring 3.9 occurred.

UPDATE 06:50 UTC : There were shaking deaths in the Spain 1956 earthquake which were classed as direct. In 1940, 1918, 1909 were also labeled as deadly earthquakes.

8 people are confirmed dead, 2 of them being minors.
2 of the dead are from the La Vina suburb, 2 from San Cristobal and 2 from San Pedro, with 2 unknown.
At least 167 people have been injured, with 2 seriously injured.
Three people died in the heart of the city after being hit by a ledge of a building that detached.
One of the dead is a teenager whose parents ran a bar in one of the affected buildings, and took to the streets frightened by the second quake.
Another woman died after a new three-storey building collapsed in the street Infante Juan Manuel of the municipality.
Fortunately, her son was rescued alive from the rubble.
Among the dead there is also a pregnant woman (although the councilman in charge has no evidence for this).

UPDATE 06:30 UTC : An earthquake near Almeria on May 11, 1978 had a magnitude of 5.6 and exposed 185,000 people to a very strong shaking.

UPDATE 06:22 UTC : Thousands of Lorca citizens spend the night outside overwhelmed by the earthquake and the aftershocks.

UPDATE 06:18 UTC : The most recent 5+ earthquake in the area had a magnitude of 5.2 and occurred on February 2, 1999 close to Murcia.  There were NO fatalities during this earthquake.

UPDATE 06:10 UTC : Based on what we have seen on some video's, the "earthquake preparedness" attitude of the people in Lorca was "minimal".  Is "earthquake preparedness" a mandatory course in Spanish schools. Some of our readers might have the answer. Feel welcome to let us know your ideas on this topic.

UPDATE 06:07 UTC : Andalucia can be called a Tectonic Active area, mostly small earthquakes without any harm, but nevertheless very active.

UPDATE 06:05 UTC : Based on theoretical values from USGS, 26,000 people experienced a very strong shaking (MMI VII) and 34,000 a strong shaking.

UPDATE 05:33 UTC : Based on the EMSC data (well informed in Europe), the epicenter of the earthquake was located ONLY 4 km to the SouthEast of Lorca. Click here to see the location on a map.

UPDATE 05:22 UTC : The specialized earthquake dogs brigade from the police did not had to intervene

UPDATE 05:15 UTC : The last serious earthquake in Spain dates from 2005 and had a magnitude of 4.6.

UPDATE 05:10 UTC : The president of the Association of Geologists of Spain, Luis Suarez, said that the energy released by an earthquake in Lorca equivalent to more than 200 tons of TNT.

UPDATE 05:02 UTC : 20,000 to 30,000 people do not want to return to their houses, the mayor or Lorca said.

UPDATE 00:05 UTC : After approx. 10 hours of continuous reporting, we will take a break and will return with new reports during the morning hours (local time).

UPDATE 00:02 UTC : The authorities and relief workers did prepare food bags for more than 10,000 evacuees, who are reluctant to return to their houses.

UPDATE 23:55 UTC : As expected a lot of aftershocks are rattling the area. The strongest so far was a 4.1 aftershock at 22:37 local time.

UPDATE 23:27 UTC : A government spokesman has reported that officially 8 people have been killed by this moderate but cruel earthquake. 2 people have been reported seriously injured.

UPDATE 23:25 UTC : A number of buildings in the Lorca City Center have collapsed completely.

UPDATE 23:13 UTC : People are asking the most silly questions on damage in other Cities. Please do not panic; ONLY Lorca and the immediate area around the city have been damaged and  are at risk for some aftershocksTheir is NO damage NOR disruption in other parts of the country.

UPDATE 22:39 UTC : Cartagena Red Cross has send an surgery and emergency group to Lorca to assist with the relief operations. The first team consists of a nurse and 13 emergency technicians.

UPDATE 22:14 UTC : A lot of British people are living in the greater Murcia area and friends and family members were very scared when they got the news of the earthquake. So fare we have NO report that a NON-Spanish citizen would have been killed by the earthquake.

UPDATE 21:40 UTC : Chaotic video from TVE (Spanish National Broadcasting System) captured soon after the earthquake struck.

UPDATE 21:35 UTC : Among the killed people are unfortunately 2 children and a pregnant woman.

UPDATE 21:32 UTC : The Ministry of Industry has reported that electricity and telecommunications infrastructure in Spain have functioned normally despite the severity of earthquakes recorded in Lorca (Murcia).

UPDATE 21:25 UTC : The Spanish Prime Minister, Mr. Zapatero has ordered the mobilization of the Unidad Militar de Emergencias

UPDATE 21:18 UTC : RENFE has suspended hisd service in between Lorca and Murcia.  6 trains were caught in the earthquake and passengers have unloaded the trains and were evacuated by road.

UPDATE 20:49 UTC : Good news (comparatively) with the government delegate in Murcia, saying that only 8 have died at present with 2 very seriously injured. Our thoughts go to all families affected by this disaster and especially to the 2 people fighting for their lives.

RTVE view of Lorca damage.

UPDATE 20:45 UTC : The mayor of Lorca has asked for support in the form of food, water and shelter supplies (mattresses and blankets).

UPDATE 20:42 UTC : This is the most deadly Spanish earthquake since that of Granada on the 19th April 1956 with 12-16 dead, 40-70 injured, according to CATDAT.
On this occasion, 10 have been killed and around 40 injured, from present information.

UPDATE 20:34 UTC : The buildings destroyed are situated one on Galicia street (calle Galicia) and another in the neighborhood of La Viña, contrary to the first reports giving a different street name. 3 people will killed in these residences.

UPDATE 20:33 UTC : The Ministry of Justice and Public Safety has activated the level 2 of Civil Protection Special Plan to the seismic risk in the Region of Murcia (Sismimur). It has moved up from Level 1.

UPDATE 20:32 UTC : For its part, the National Police has mobilized a total of 183 staff employed in the identification and rescue tasks and the Civil Guard has mobilized a total of 210 agents.

UPDATE 20:31 UTC : The Military Emergency Unit ( UME ) has increased the support to 350 troops deployed in the area with tactical search and rescue capability after the earthquakes recorded in Lorca, as reported by a spokesman for the unit.

UPDATE 20:30 UTC : The two earthquakes this afternoon in Lorca have caused damage to roads in the area, according to the Directorate General of Traffic, which reports on several cuts along roadways and in the A-7 near Almería. This highway is cut between km 593 and 595, and also the earthquakes disrupted traffic in the RM-701 in both directions around Lorca. Transit authorities ask motorists to avoid travel to these areas.

UPDATE 20:27 UTC : The death toll remains at 10. Look below for further details of damage.

UPDATE 20:22 UTC : At least a dozen aftershocks have occurred. None of these have caused any additional damage after the M5.2 at present.

UPDATE 20:07 UTC : Horrifying scenes with the city streets strewn with debris. Mostly bricks. A number of deaths have resulted from falling cornices and tiles. This is a reminder for people to stay put if there is an earthquake and you are indoors, moving away only from falling objects. If outside, then move away from facades and other potential dangers.

UPDATE 20:05 UTC : The President of Murcia, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, who is in Brussels at a regional Committee meeting, has suspended his agenda for tomorrow and at this time is returning to Lorca.

UPDATE 20:00 UTC : Albacete and Vélez-Rubio (Almería) has reported that there has been damage to the roof of the sports pavilion. 10 killed and 40 injured remains the totals. As news comes to hand we will report it!

UPDATE 19:45 UTC : Summary:
At least 10 deaths, 40 injured, around 10000 expected to be displaced at present. Collapsed buildings in Galicia street and in the neighbourhood of La Vina. All public buildings are damaged. The belfry of the church of Santiago has fallen, along with many cornices and tiles around the city.
A hospital has been evacuated. The M5.2 shallow earthquake struck the region around the town of Lorca after a M4.4 before it.
CATDAT expects damage to exceed €25 million at present, waiting on more reports. (greater than the 1999 and 2005 earthquakes in the same region)
An emergency has been declared in Lorca and the region of Murcia.
Damage has also been recorded in Murcia Totana, but also in Albacete and Vélez-Rubio.

UPDATE 19:42 UTC : An experience from a nurse in Lorca, "The roof of the hospital dropped. In the 2nd earthquake, cracks occurred in the hospital Rafael Mendez and some patients have gone to the streets nervous. People are confused and they say in the corridors some have fallen to the ground and that many tiles fell and broke ... very afraid, very afraid. Many things have fallen to the ground. Phew noise of sirens everywhere."

UPDATE 19:38 UTC : With 10 people killed, 60 injured and many displaced.
The government in Murcia is preparing bags of food for some 10,000 residents of Lorca who have been displaced or have fled their homes after the earthquake of magnitude 5.2 has shaken this afternoon the region of Murcia. A spokesman for the Government Office Efe reported that Lorca's neighbors have taken to the streets, and are since a couple of hours in parks and gardens in fear of a new aftershock.

According to preliminary damages balance sheets, all the city's public buildings have been damaged, so that those responsible for safety and emergency devices are now considering where to place evacuees.

A sports hall wall has fallen down and damage to the fairgrounds in Santa Quiteria do not allow conversion to temporary shelters, as is the case with other public buildings, according to sources.

UPDATE 19:34 UTC : Telephone coverage is sporadic in the region, mainly due to the number of calls going into the region to check that people are ok.

UPDATE 19:33 UTC : 10 people are killed and around 60 people are injured, with more reports expected to come in. These are nearly all as a result of the 5.2 earthquake which struck around 2 hrs after the initial 4.4 earhtquake.

UPDATE 19:30 UTC : 3 of the 10 killed are confirmed to be from the 2 collapsed buildings mentioned earlier.
At this time, people are in the city parks through fear of aftershocks and also the damage to their homes. Some people have chosen to move to the outskirts of town to avoid being under the buildings. According to eyewitnesses, "the downtown streets are deserted and there are many empty cars, many of them buried under rubble."

UPDATE 19:30 UTC : 150 troops are on their way to the Murcia region to help out with relief. So far, we have a few reports from Totana of damage, but are still looking for damage reports from towns outside of Lorca.

UPDATE 19:25 UTC : The care of injured patients and is guaranteed by other hospitals in nine health areas that make up the Health Map of the Region, sources say. This is good since the hospital in Lorca is out of action following the evacuation. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 10 dead and the numerous injured.

UPDATE 19:23 UTC : Repeating that the death toll has been raised to 10. There are numerous injuries, and many people have been evacuated. We are nearing nightfall and are hoping for the trapped to be recovered before nightfall.

UPDATE 19:21 UTC : also thanks the following people for their testimonies:-
Stuart Gladwell - 12:07 pm
We felt 2 earthquakes in Mazarron. The second one was far stronger and lasted longer than the first. The room shook for about 5 seconds and there was a rumbling noise. Our sympathies are with the people of Lorca who have born the brunt of this.

Lizzie Mckeown - 11:19 am
we felt the earthquake in torrevieja.

Chris Knight - 10:42 am
felt 2 earth tremors here in pto de mazarron. centre of earth tremor was lorca. 1st was 4.2 and 2nd was 5.2. some builing damage reported in lorca and city hall area closed off. waiting for more info

UPDATE 19:15 UTC : At least 10 people have been reported killed. This is in addition to the numerous injured.

UPDATE 19:05 UTC : From Tracy:
I am speechless! I am living overseas but I’m from Lorca, just contacted my parents and my family is ok, but my house is completely tattered! Just look at the cracks on my bedroom wall!

Wall cracks in Lorca, courtesy Tracy.

UPDATE 19:00 UTC : Summary:- 7 deaths have been confirmed. A number of people have been seriously injured. 2 houses confirmed to have been partly destroyed (1 in Galicia street, 1 in La Vina neighbourhood). Half of the belfry of the church of Santiago have been destroyed. A hospital has been evacuated. The M5.2 shallow earthquake struck the region around the town of Lorca after a M4.4 before it.
CATDAT expects damage to exceed €25 million at present, waiting on more reports. (greater than the 1999 and 2005 earthquakes in the same region)
An emergency has been declared in Lorca and the region of Murcia.
Damage has also been recorded in Murcia Totana, but also in Albacete and Vélez-Rubio.

UPDATE 18:55 UTC :
From Richard in the town of Vera, around 60km from Lorca.
"Just heard of the bad news – I am near Vera about 60km away…heard and felt the rumble and then the glasses in the cupboard shook…not realise till later that it was as damaging. Thoughts are with the people of Lorca."

UPDATE 18:52 UTC : Pictures show much debris scattering the streets of Lorca, where seven people are confirmed dead.

UPDATE 18:51 UTC : The Government has confirmed that, for the moment, there are seven deaths from the earthquake in Lorca and the earthquake has caused damage mainly in this town and in nearby Murcia Totana, but also in Albacete and Vélez-Rubio.
Damage via CATDAT is expected to exceed €25 million at present, waiting on more reports.

UPDATE 18:49 UTC : For the reasons of damage and also panic, the City of Lorca has enabled the municipal emergency plan while the Government of Murcia has implemented the Level 1 Emergency Plan of the seismic risk of the Autonomous Community of Murcia (Sismimur), and the Minister of Justice, Manuel Campos, has travelled to Murcia.

UPDATE 18:46 UTC : The death toll remains at 7. Authorities have warned of the fall of the convent tower Virgen de las Huertas. Also, members of the City of Lorca have been forced to evacuate a home for the elderly and knows that the earthquake has caused damage to private homes and buildings in the village, and also historical heritage sites as the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Huerta, in addition other temples, from local sources. Most of notices received by the emergency telephone number came from the town of Lorca, rather than their districts, though the calls are spread across the towns of Aguilas and Cartagena, indicating possible damage across these 2 towns as well. It is our hope that damage is localised.

UPDATE 18:42 UTC : Unfortunately, reports that a child is among the 7 people killed as a result of this earthquake. Our hearts go out to all the victims of this disaster.

UPDATE 18:40 UTC : The January 29, 2005 earthquake in the same region cost €12.2 million (Euros), and CATDAT and, expect that this M5.2 earthquake today will exceed this value. In the 2005 earthquake, around 900 houses were damaged.

UPDATE 18:38 UTC : 7 killed, numerous injured, 2 houses destroyed, many houses and buildings damaged. 1 hospital evacuated.
The situation in Lorca is one of "chaos and widespread disaster" and heading up the response there are the agents Prevention and Response Unit of the National Police stations Murcia and Cartagena and other nearby provinces.

They have also been mobilized the police unit and service of the National Police Canines also travel to the military zone Military Emergency Unit (UME) based in Valencia and Madrid in order to search for victims. According to sources, the Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, is scheduled to fly tomorrow morning to Lorca, where it is headed at this time by the Minister for Innovation, Cristina Garmendia .

UPDATE 18:34 UTC : The reason for Hospital Rafael Méndez de Lorca being evicted is for risk of landslides, as reported by sources from the Ministry of Health. The eviction started around 19.30 hours local time and patients are being transferred to other hospitals, explained the sources, who have indicated that, although the damage has not been "too big", it was decided to evacuate because of the "nervousness of patients and the possibility of further aftershocks." 5 aftershocks have been felt with many more expected.

UPDATE 18:30 UTC : According to local authorities, there are many wounded and members of security teams track "house to house" Lorca in search of victims. 5 have been confirmed dead, with 2 extra people expected to be confirmed soon. Numerous injured people which is expected with falling debris, cornices, tiles affecting many people on the street at the time.

UPDATE 18:27 UTC : The earthquake was also felt in Madrid. No damage was reported there, and it is localised to the Murcia region. The M5.2 was shallow and only 6km away from Lorca, thus the amount of damage that occurred was expected, with most buildings being out of masonry.

UPDATE 18:25 UTC : The hospital Rafael Méndez has been evacuated as a result of this earthquake. This is not good with a number expected to be injured. Serviceability is an important measure for hospitals in earthquakes.

UPDATE 18:21 UTC : Given the relative abnormality of such large earthquakes in this area and the fact that 2 descended upon Lorca in short time, there is a feeling of chaos in Lorca, with much damage reported. 7 continues to be the total killed. These deaths all occurred from the 2nd earthquake (the larger of the two, at M5.2).

UPDATE 18:15 UTC : 7 deaths have been confirmed. A number of people have been seriously injured. 2 houses confirmed to have been partly destroyed (1 in Galicia street, 1 in La Vina neighbourhood). Half of the belfry of the church of Santiago have been destroyed. CATDAT sees this earthquake being much more damaging than the 1999 and 2005 earthquakes in the same region.

UPDATE 18:12 UTC : The number of deaths shows the need for further work on earthquake risk and safety in moderate and low seismicity countries such as Spain. Remember that risk is the combination of hazard and vulnerability!

UPDATE 18:10 UTC : Not confirmed as yet, but the 2 collapsed buildings are likely to have caused some of these 7 deaths.

UPDATE 18:09 UTC : At least 7 people have died. At least seven deaths in the population of Murcia Lorca is the provisional balance left by the two almost consecutive earthquakes shaking this afternoon the Murcia region, as confirmed by the delegation of the Government.

UPDATE 18:05 UTC : Sound of ambulances, fire trucks and police sirens across the main streets of Lorca can be heard where people look for damage of their cornices and balconies and where some buildings, such as the cultural center have been roped off. Some reports are only showing 3 deaths and 2 seriously injured currently. Just reminding viewers that 5 deaths has been quoted by the mayor of Lorca.

UPDATE 18:02 UTC : Just repeating, at least 5 people have died from the 4.4 and 5.2 earthquakes today in the Murcia region of Spain. One woman died while walking past a ledge, which subsequently fell on her. We are waiting for reports on the other 4 deaths.

UPDATE 17:58 UTC : The Santiago church has been cordoned off. At least 2 buildings have partly collapsed in Lorca. The buildings are situated in the following areas:- one on the Galicia street and another in the neighborhood of La Viña, according to eyewitnesses.

UPDATE 17:56 UTC : For those reading, please do not use lifts, as problems can occur. Also stand clear of cornices and roofs, given the nature of the damage. Lorca's mayor continues to say that at least 5 people are dead.

UPDATE 17:54 UTC : The earthquake has been felt in much of the Region of Murcia. Specifically, in Cartagena, Aguilas, Murcia, Mazarrón and even in Albacete and Almería.

UPDATE 17:50 UTC : The tower of the church of Santiago was split in half according to eyewitnesses.

UPDATE 17:46 UTC : Although the 2005 earthquake around the same area caused 900 damaged houses, there were no deaths at that time. Unfortunately this time, the 2 heavily damaged buildings, and the falling cornices and roof tiles of other buildings have caused additional deaths/injuries.

UPDATE 17:43 UTC : There are reports from the local mayor that 5 people have died.

UPDATE 17:40 UTC : According to sources, it is possible that there are more deaths because there are two buildings that have suffered major damage to their structures. The Emergency Coordination Center has called in a bulletin to the media to move to the residents of Lorca's recommendation not to use the lifts. There are thousands of people on the street not knowing what to do or where to go, and that the shaking has surprised everyone in the middle of their daily routine.

UPDATE 17:37 UTC : As confirmed by sources close to Europa Press, many buildings have been affected, such as the Belfry of the Church of San Diego, the roof of the asylum, the Torre del Castillo de Lorca Ram and a wall could have stopped someone trapped.

UPDATE 17:35 UTC : Among the material damage for the moment, there have been highlights the collapse of the roof at the nursing home Caser Lorca, who have been evacuated. (these data were already reported after the first shaking)

UPDATE 17:31 UTC : At least one person has died after the earthquakes in Lorca this afternoon. Apparently, according to  sources consulted by this writing, a ledge could have fallen on the victim when she was walking down the
street. And after the first earthquake, there has been a new earthquake or shook her area of Lorca , this time with greater intensity of 5.2 degrees on the Richter scale, according to provisional data from the National Geological Institute , which returns to feel part of the Region of Murcia.

They have evacuated the area near the City Hall of this town and have more people affected.

UPDATE 17:26 UTC : CATDAT historic earthquakes in the same greater area.
1518 (37.2, -1.5) - There was a large earthquake that affected this exact region at this approximate epicenter, killing many people as reported by Montandon. (Intensity IX)
16 April 1907 (37.8, -1.5) - An intensity 7, M4.7 earthquake affected this region.
2 February 1999 - M5.2, Intensity VII (38.06,-1.54)- Twenty people injured in the Mula area. Buildings damaged (VII) at Mula and Puebla de Mula. Felt (VI) in the Archena-Bullas area; (V) in the Alhama de Murcia-Molina de Segura-Murcia area and at Abaran, Albatana, Cehegin, Cieza, Elche and Hornos;
29 January 2005 - M4.8, Intensity VII (37.8, -1.75) - At least 565 houses damaged (VI) at La Paca and Zarcilla de Ramos. Felt (V) at Aviles, Coy, La Fuensanta, La Hoya and Los Rios;

UPDATE 17:24 UTC : People in Lorca and in the surrounding villages are on the streets and are not willing to go inside again as they fear additional aftershocks.

UPDATE 17:22 UTC : The second earthquake (mainshock) shook the area approx. 2 hours after the first one. Also the second shock was centered near Lorca, a city with at least 80,000 people.

UPDATE 17:12 UTC : We are trying to get some more news close to the epicenter, but we can predict that this last shock will probably be very damaging. Too soon to predict any injuries.

UPDATE 17:08 UTC : This last earthquake was measured by GFZ at a magnitude of 5.0 also at a depth of 5 km. These values are better than USGS, but have still a damaging potential.

UPDATE 17:06 UTC :  A much STRONGER 5.3 magnitude also shallow earthquake just happened in the same area

UPDATE 17:03 UTC : The damage will probably be limited but we are passing it to our readers as we gather it from local sources.

UPDATE 16:59 UTC : Lorca has called the state of emergency in the city following some Spanish sources.

UPDATE 16:56 UTC : Private houses and city buildings have been damaged during the earthquake.

UPDATE 16:54 UTC : An elderly home has been evacuated in Lorca after the earthquake

UPDATE 16:50 UTC : Felt experiences are arriving at EMSC (European Seismological service).
Below the ones we found the best describing the sitiuation :

@ Aguilas : 33 km from the epicenter  - Tengo una terraza grande y en ella se aprecian algunas pequeñas grietas (small cracks on the terraces) . Muchas de ellas ya estaban, pero creo que hay alguna nueva aunque no podría afirmarlo con rotundidad.
Por la zona de España en la que vivo, se que es zona de cierto riesgo sísmico (we live in a seismic risky area) . La verdad es que he notado varios, no sabría cuantos, movimientos sísmicos en mi vida, pero creo que es el mas "fuerte", por así decirlo, que he experimentado en cuarenta años que vivo en Águilas. (living 40 years in Aguilas, this person has witnessed tens of small vibrations but he says that today's quake was the strongest he ever felt)

@ Murcia : 57 km from the epicenter - A little vibration on windows and doors. Soft furniture movement.

UPDATE 16:43 UTC : GFZ, the German seismological service reports a Magnitude of 4.7 at a depth of 5 km, which is a little more dangerous for small damage than the values from EMSC and USGS

UPDATE 16:41 UTC : On March 29, 1954 a massive 7.9 earthquake caused a lot of damage at Malaga. This earthquake was felt in Madrid, Granada, Cadiz and even in Tangier. The earthquake was NOT devastating because it occurred at a depth of 640 km (normally harmless).

UPDATE 16:35 UTC : Based on historic earthquake maps, the area has regular earthquakes from in between 3.5 and 4.5

UPDATE 16:31 UTC : Epicenter is below San Julian approx. 10 km from Lorca. Lorca has a population of 90,924.

A moderate but very shallow earthquake occurred in the late afternoon near the city of Lorca and 55 km from Murcia in Spain. This earthquake will probably not lead to damage or injuries, but local people will certainly have been frightened by the shaking.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 4.5 foreshock followed by a 5.2 mainshock
UTC Time : Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 15:05:12 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 05:05:12 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km
Geo-location(s) :
55 km (34 miles) SW of Murcia, Spain
120 km (74 miles) NE of Almeria, Spain

Links to important maps
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
3-dimensional view of the earthquake area (USGS epicenter location)
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS Seismic hazard map

QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

a headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America's and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our website

I did feel it  - Ik heb het gevoeld - Το έκανα αισθάνεται - Yo lo siento - 我的确感到了 - 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt - Bunu hissediyorum yaptı - لم أشعر أنه


  1. Fatman says

    Does anyone know if the shocks were felt in the Velez Rubio area, and if there was any damage? I hope my house is still in one piece.... Such dreadful news - what an awful thing to happen in such a beautiful part of Spain.

  2. Eveline Sullivan says

    What a terrible thing to happen to the spainish people in such a beautfiul part of Spain, I hope there are no more deaths and deepest smypathy to all the families who have lost a dear one or has injured members of their families.
    We have a home in las ramblas, by the golf club in Altermera was there any damage done there?

    Thanks ;you

    • Armand Vervaeck says

      We do not think so Eveline. Almost all the damage was in Lorca itself. In a wider area (max. 40 km radius), there might also have been minimal cracks

  3. Amanda Akrigg says

    I am so sorry for people who have lost loved ones in this bad earthquake. Me and my family are due to fly out to Reus Airport next friday for our holiday as you can imagine a little nervous now.
    I hope that people of Lorca can somehow cope with this awful act of god. My heart goes out to you all.