Panic erupts after 6.6 magnitude earthquake hits South American cities

Panic erupted among locals as strong tremors were felt in several parts of Colombia and Panama. Several residents rushed to the street as night was falling to protect themselves from any debris falling and check the damages to their properties.

Footage shared on social media by Twitter users depicted frantic scenes as people ran outside while younger voices could be heard screaming and a dog barking.

In another video, people could be seen walking around the rubble, and Colombian publication Semana reported some saw entire walls of their homes in tatters.

A video from the city of Necoclí, in the Antioquia region, also showed trees swaying as locals came together in the streets, the publication added.

The first earthquake, with magnitude 6.6, was reported on Wednesday night and had its epicentre in the Caribbean Sea, some 41km from Acandí, a town in the Colombian north-west region of Chocó.

The Colombian Geological Service (SGC) confirmed the seismic event took place at 3.05am BST (10.05pm local time).

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) added the quake’s epicentre was at a depth of 10km.

Some 10 minutes later, a first aftershock happened, with its epicentre also in the Caribbean Sea, this time 34km from Acandí.

This tremor, recorded at 3.14am BST (10.14pm local time) had magnitude of 4.9.

Two more aftershocks followed within the hour, with one tremor of 3.6 magnitude being felt at 3.23am BST (10.23pm local time), 33 minutes before the fourth quake, with magnitude 3.1.

The seismic activity was felt strongly in several areas in the cities of Montería, Córdoba and Medellin – although officials from the latter area said no damages had been immediately reported.

People living in Bucaramanga and Colombia’s capital Bogotá also took to Twitter to share their concerns after experiencing the tremors.

Officials are currently assessing the damage to determine the number of people affected.

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While people in some regions of Panama, including areas of its capital, also felt the quakes, the country’s civil protection agency said it had not immediately received reports of damages.

However, officials added they would continue to “monitor” the situation.

Shortly after the earthquake struck, Panama’s National Emergency Operations Center had ruled out the possibility of a tsunami.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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