CARACAS, Venezuela, One person was killed in Venezuela when a rockslide was triggered by a 5.1-magnitude earthquake in the state of Mérida, causing a traffic collision.
The Venezuelan Foundation of Seismological Research, or FUNVISIS, reported the epicenter of the earthquake was located about 18 miles southeast of the town of El Vigía at 4:08 p.m. at a depth of about 3 miles. Multiple aftershocks were recorded in the region.
Blas Federico Méndez, 41, died immediately and his son Emmanuel Méndez, 32, was injured after their vehicle made a frontal collision with an SUV. Both vehicles attempted to evade debris from a rockslide, but collided in the process. Two people inside the SUV were injured, El Universal reported.
This is the second death connected to earthquakes in Mérida this month. FUNVISIS President and engineer Aura Fernández urged for calm, saying natural events are “normal in Venezuela, because we are a seismic country.”
Six houses were significantly damaged by the earthquake. Road travel through multiple districts in Mérida and the corresponding Andean region has been limited due to potential rockslides. Officials warn the increased seismic activity could last 15 or more days.
“Recall that in Venezuela, the most seismically active area corresponds to a stretch of about 100 kilometers [62 miles] wide, defined along the mountain ranges of the Andes, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental, places where the main plate boundaries in the country are located,” FUNVISIS said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Venezuela announced it would demolish 33 homes in Méridaafter more than 80 aftershocks and a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck the South American country, killing one person.