February 19, 1996 in Nation/World

Quake Shakes France But Does Little Damage

Compiled From Wire Services

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook southeastern France before dawn Sunday, startling residents from their beds but causing little reported damage and no deaths or injuries.

The quake, which occurred at 2:45 a.m. Sunday, was centered at Axat, a town in the rugged Pyrenees mountain range that forms France’s border with Spain. Axat is about 40 miles west of the city of Perpignan.

Several people reported cracks in the walls of their homes, but there were no reports of injuries, civil defense officials said.

In the village of Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet just east of Axat, 300 panic-stricken villagers fled their homes to gather in the darkness in front of the town hall.

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