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Australia hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake Australia hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake  (AFP or licensors)

Australia: Earthquake strikes near Melbourne

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes southeast Australia, causing damage in the city of Melbourne.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Offices, supermarkets, and even TV presenters live on air felt the tremors of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Wednesday near Melbourne.

Images and video footage showed rubble on one of the city’s main streets while many residents were evacuated from buildings.

According to Geoscience Australia, this was one of the country's biggest quakes on record, and it could be felt as far as Adelaide, 500 miles away.

It was followed by two aftershocks of 4.0 and 3.1 magnitudes.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were no reports of serious injuries, adding, "It can be a very disturbing event, an earthquake of this nature. They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I am sure people would have been quite distressed and disturbed."

The quake's epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield in the state of Victoria, about 124 miles northeast of Melbourne.

More than half of Australia's 25 million population lives in the southeast of the country from Adelaide to Sydney and earthquakes in this area are a rare occurrence.

In 1989 the country’s deadliest quake, a 5.6 in Newcastle, claimed the lives of 13 people.

The country's Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement that no tsunami threat was issued to the Australian mainland, islands, or territories.

Melbourne is currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

22 September 2021, 13:01