Venezuela earthquake: 7.3 quake strikes northern coast

Tsunami Alert issued in Caribbean after 7.3-magnitude earthquake shakes Venezuela

The United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake in the coastal town of Irapa and tremors were felt 286 miles (622 km) away in the capital of Caracas.

The quake, which was centred near the town of Guiria, was felt as far away as the capital, Caracas, causing buildings to be evacuated,

The USGS put the magnitude of the quake at 7.3 and said it had a depth of 76 miles (123 kilometres).

Its epicentre was 12 miles (20 kilometres) north-west of Yaguaraparo.

The population of the affected region lives in areas where structures are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, according to the USGS.

The most vulnerable buildings are those made from unreinforced brick and wood.

A tsunami advisory has been issued in the Caribbean.

Footage which emerged on social media following the earthquake showed buildings in Maturin being shaken heavily and people running into the street.

In Trinidad and Tobago, phone lines and power have been out and there have been reports of structural damage to buildings.

A witness in Cumana, which is near the epicentre, said there were initial reports of several injuries at a shopping centre as an escalator collapsed.

Firefighter captain John Boquett said there are no initial reports of injuries or major damage in the capital.

In 1997, a quake of similar magnitude in the same area left dozens dead.

Additional reporting by Alahna Kindred