Shocks, Aftershocks Jar Citizens of 3 Continents : Quakes: Mexico City is frightened but not badly hurt by a 6.1 temblor. Northern Peru and three nations in Eastern Europe also are rocked.

From Times Wire Services

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 shook metropolitan Mexico City early Thursday, sending frightened residents into the streets but causing no reported serious injuries or major damage.

At the same time, dozens of strong aftershocks rocked jungle villages in northern Peru, where civil defense officials announced that the death toll had risen to 135 in a 6.3 magnitude quake that struck the area late Tuesday.

Aftershocks, including one very strong temblor, also rocked Romania, Bulgaria and the Soviet republic of Moldavia before dawn, causing people to flee into the streets a day after a major earthquake in that region killed at least 14 people Wednesday.

In Mexico City, terrified people crowded into squares and plazas, fearful that their homes would collapse on them. The temblor, striking at 1:35 a.m. and lasting 15 seconds, was centered about 180 miles southwest of the capital, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center at Golden, Colo.

Hotel clerks in Acapulco said the quake was felt in the Pacific resort but that there was no damage.

Mexico City, spread across a basin prone to earthquakes, suffered one of the century's most devastating temblors on Sept. 19, 1985. That earthquake, which measured 8.1, and an aftershock the next day, left 9,500 people dead and 150,000 homeless.

In Peru, hundreds of people whose homes were damaged slept on towels and mats in the streets of Rioja and Moyobamba, the two largest towns in the affected area, about 400 miles north of the capital city of Lima.

Peru's Geophysical Institute in Lima said that at least 70 aftershocks had struck since Tuesday night, including one Thursday morning that registered 4.6.

All the tremors were centered around Moyobamba, a farming community of 50,000 that produces corn, rice, coffee and sugar cane.

The city has many historic colonial structures with red-tile roofs and is surrounded by deep green hills of the high jungle.

The air above nearby Rioja, a town of 20,000, was thick with smoke from outdoor cooking fires as terrified residents crowded the central square. Many held crying infants as they waited for aftershocks to subside.

"All of us slept in the streets, but we were afraid to take out our beds because we might be trapped by another tremor," said Flor de Maria Masaboya of Rioja as she pointed out a three-inch-wide crack in her adobe home.

Several small villages around Moyobamba were the hardest hit.

In Eastern Europe, a 3 a.m. aftershock measuring 5.9 was the strongest of about 100 recorded after Wednesday's 6.5 quake, which was felt from Moscow to Istanbul and caused serious structural damage to buildings in Romania and Bulgaria, officials said.

Romania's Ministry of Health reported nine people were killed in Wednesday's quake and 994 people injured.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World