2021-09-22 03:46:00 Earthquake Hits Southeast Australia, Damaging Buildings in Melbourne

Earthquake Hits Southeast Australia, Damaging Buildings in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIAN REPUBLIC — On Wednesday morning, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Australia, collapsing the walls of buildings in Melbourne, shattering windows and leaving cracks in the roads.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a news conference from New York, where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly, that there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths. Residents in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, reported power outages, and apartment buildings were evacuated.

It was the country’s largest land earthquake since a 6.1-magnitude quake struck the Northern Territory in 2016. The quake’s epicenter on Wednesday was in Mansfield, a regional town in Victoria about 81 miles from Melbourne, the state capital.

The quake, which struck around 9:15 a.m., was felt throughout Victoria, as well as in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Tasmania. The geosciences agency reported two smaller quakes at 9:30 a.m. and 9:54 a.m.

Residents of Melbourne were stressed and exhausted after months of Covid lockdowns and days of violent protests against vaccine mandates.

Photos and videos widely circulated on social media show damaged buildings with bricks and stones strewn across the streets.

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Western Australia in 1997. In 1989, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Newcastle, about 75 miles north of Sydney, killed at least 11 people and injured more than 120. The cost of the damage was estimated to be $1 billion.

“An earthquake of this magnitude can be a very, very disturbing event,” Mr. Morrison said from the United States. “They are extremely rare events in Australia, and I’m sure people would have been quite distressed or disturbed as a result.”

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Earthquake Hits Southeast Australia, Damaging Buildings in Melbourne