Strong 5.8 quake rattles Washington; Indian Embassy safe

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Washington, Aug 24: The strongest quake to strike the eastern America in more than a century has rattled offices in the US capital, forcing authorities to evacuate buildings as far as New York and shut down two nuclear power plants.

The Indian Embassy, the Pentagon and the US Capitol were among the well-known buildings in Washington that were evacuated yesterday during the earthquake measuring 5.8 on Richter Scale, which is the strongest since 5.9 magnitude quake in May 1897.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake had its center at 54 kms from Richmond in Virginia and 139 kms from Washington.

Though no casualty or major damage was reported, officials said the National Monument may have been damaged, while the National Cathedral's central tower was damaged.

The century-old historic building near Dupoint Circle in Washington which houses the Indian Embassy to the US was reported to be safe, even as occupants of the building rushed out of it as they felt the shocks last afternoon.

No damage was reported to the nearly half-a-dozen Hindu temples and gurudrawas in the Greater Washington Area.

Shocks of the earthquake was also felt as far as Martha's Vineyard where President Barack Obama is on a vacation.

Obama was briefed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the earthquake soon thereafter.

"The President was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance," a media release said.

PTI

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