Toll in Mozambique earthquake rises to four

Four people died in a powerful earthquake that forced thousands of panicked residents from their homes, Mozambique 's government and state radio reported Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck Thursday at 12:19 a.m. (2219 GMT) with a magnitude of 7.5, one capable of widespread, heavy damage, and was centered 140 miles (225 kilometers) southwest of Beira . It shook buildings in Beira and Maputo as well as the Zimbabwean cities of Masvingo and Mutare. It awoke people hundreds of miles (kilometers) away in four southern African countries, as far away as Durban on South Africa 's Indian Ocean coast.

Thousands of residents fled their homes and slept in the open, fearful as five aftershocks rocked the region. Many slept on sidewalks in front of their homes for a second night Thursday, saying they still were scared. Mozambican and Zimbabwean authorities reported little damage, apparently because the epicenter was in sparsely populated farmlands near the border with Zimbabwe .

Esperanca Dias , Mozambique 's minister of mineral resources, on Friday said a woman died in the main port city of Beira , and state radio said a man who panicked and jumped from the third story of a Beira hotel had died in the hospital of abdomen and head injuries.

On Thursday, Diaz said a girl and a man had died in farm towns near Espungabera, the epicenter of the quake near the border with Zimbabwe . State radio said 27 people were injured, five seriously. It said 160 homes were damaged, reports the AP.

N.U.