Magnitude-5.3 quake hits Macedonia; at least 30 injured

SKOPJE, Macedonia — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 struck on the outskirts of Macedonia's capital on Sunday, injuring at least 30 people and causing minor damage to buildings, authorities said.

The quake occurred just after 3 p.m. (1300 GMT; 9 a.m. EDT), seismologist Dragana Cernih from the national seismological observatory told The Associated Press.

She said she received reports of cracks in the walls of buildings or collapsed chimneys, as well as damage to roofs in villages around Skopje.

At least 30 people were slightly injured leaving their homes in panic, crisis management department spokeswoman Nadica V'ckova told The Associated Press late Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey also gave the quake a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, with its epicenter about four kilometers 4 kilometers (2 ½ miles) east-northeast of Skopje, at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles). The Potsdam-based German Research Centre for Geosciences, or GFZ, gave a magnitude of 5. Earthquake experts often give different estimates of magnitude.

Cernih said at least four strong aftershocks followed the big quake, while a smaller quake was recorded earlier in the day.

A large earthquake in 1963 leveled much of Skopje, killing more than 1,000 people.

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