A powerful earthquake has hit the northern coast of Venezuela with a magnitude of 7.3, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It had been originally reported as a 6.8 event but this has since been upgraded to 7.3.
Reuters reported that the quake, which was centred near the town of Guiria, was felt as far away as the capital, Caracas, where it shook buildings, witnesses said.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Center said the quake, which was fairly deep, could cause small tsunami waves along the coast near the epicenter, 23 miles (37 km) southwest of the town of Carupano.
A magnitude 7.3 quake is considered major and is capable of causing widespread, heavy damage, but the quake was 76.5 miles (123.11 km) deep, which would have dampened the shaking.
The Trinidad Express this afternoon said that reports are beginning to come in of widespread damage and destruction on the twin-island republic.
BREAKING NEWS: Major 7.0 magnitude earthquake hits Venezuela. Caribbean countries of Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have also been significantly impacted with the tremor measuring up to 6.8 in Trinidad. A video via WhatsApp shows damage to one commercial building. pic.twitter.com/cnbLRp0stM
— Jamaica Gleaner (@JamaicaGleaner) August 21, 2018
Buildings have sustained structural damage, cars have been flattened by falling concrete and supermarkets are reporting losses, the Express said.
There is also significant loss of telecommunication being reported, the newspaper report added.
Strong tremors were felt in Georgetown and surrounding areas around around 5.30 this afternoon.
Guyanese have begun reporting their experiences with the tremor. There are reports that it was felt severely in the northwest of Guyana which is much closer to the epicentre of the earthquake.
East Bank Demerara residents reported feeling the walls of their homes moving as well as trees and power lines swaying.
In Georgetown, some buildings shook and residents streamed into the streets but there have been no immediate reports of any damage.
Head of the Civil Defence Commission, Kester Craig said on his Facebook page that there is no Tsunami Warning for Guyana at the moment. The Hydrometeorological Service is monitoring and would provide the necessary updates, he said.
“I feel like I’m about to faint. I’m shaking. It was long,” said telemarketing worker Sheny Fuentes, 22, speaking outside her work building in eastern Caracas told Reuters. “I’m relieved that it doesn’t seem like damage was that bad. We would have been even more affected (given Venezuela’s economic crisis) – there are already people eating from the garbage and buildings aren’t well made,” she told Reuters.