PANAMA CITY – At least 62 people were affected by the magnitude-6.3 earthquake that shook the Panama-Costa Rica border region over the weekend, injuring five people in Panama, officials said on Monday.
The quake struck around 2:22 pm on Sunday in western Panama with its epicenter located at 22 kilometers (14 miles) from Puerto Armuelles in Chiriqui province bordering on Costa Rica, the Geosciences Institute reported.
Authorities said the families affected, made up of at least 43 adults and 19 minors, were taken to a facility of the Housing Ministry in Las Palmas and to hotels in the area.
The Joint Task Force (FTC) distributed humanitarian aid sent by the office of the first lady of Panama to the affected area.
In Puerto Armuelles, where classes were suspended this Monday to check on the condition of the schools, total destruction of an old dock was reported plus structural damage to a gymnasium under construction.
Eight districts in Chiriqui and Changuinola in the neighboring province of Bocas del Toro were hit the hardest.
“At Zapote Ranch, five homes were totally destroyed and three had partial damage,” the FTC said.
The authorities reported Sunday that the injured included one adult, 98, three minors ages 7, 8 and 17, and a pregnant woman, 37.
The magnitude-6.3 quake on the Richter scale was followed by eight aftershocks of less intensity, according to the Panamanian Geosciences Institute.
Announced this Sunday from Costa Rica was that the National Seismological Network considered the temblor to be a magnitude-6 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter at 1 kilometer northeast of the town of La Cuesta in the Pacific coast province of Puntarenas.
The head of operations at the National Emergency Commission of Costa Rica, Sigifredo Perez, said the earthquake “caused some minor events along the border with Panama, like shaking goods off of supermarket shelves, as well as temporary power outages.
“There’s no damage to the infrastructure. The Costa Rican Social Security System reports that hospitals are operating normally. We’ve been in constant contact with authorities of seismology and volcanology to keep track of what happens in the wake of this magnitude-6,” Perez said.
The cause of the quake was the continental drift of the Caribbean tectonic plate, said the National Seismological Network of Costa Rica (RSN), a country located in a part of the world of high seismic activity and which annually registers hundreds of temblors.