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Spain's PM tours quake-hit area

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Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, 3rd left, inspects the damage in Lorca (AP)

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, 3rd left, inspects the damage in Lorca (AP)

Thousands of people, fearing more earthquakes, spent the night outside in Lorca (AP)

Thousands of people, fearing more earthquakes, spent the night outside in Lorca (AP)

Police officers look at the rubble of a fallen building in Lorca (AP)

Police officers look at the rubble of a fallen building in Lorca (AP)

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Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, 3rd left, inspects the damage in Lorca (AP)

Spain's prime minister is touring the quake-ravaged city of Lorca for a first-hand look at building damage that caused an estimated 3,000 people to spend another night sleeping in tents in makeshift camps.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero visited the area hardest hit by the quake, which killed nine people and injured hundreds, and pledged the government will help Lorca rebuild and return to normal as soon as possible.

At one point Mr Zapatero stopped to watch as crews tore away loose chunks of concrete from the tops of buildings and let them crash to the ground.

The Spanish cabinet is to approve aid for people who lost their homes or businesses at a meeting later.

A funeral Mass for some of the nine dead was also scheduled.

Mr Zapatero attended the service, along with Crown Prince Felipe and Crown Princess Letizia.

Lorca's mayor said that of around 550 buildings inspected so far by engineers and architects, more than half are uninhabitable. Lorca is a city of some 90,000 that lives off agriculture.

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Cars streamed out of the city on Thursday as people fled in fear of more aftershocks from the 4.4 and 5.2 magnitude quakes that hit on Wednesday at a very shallow depth just outside Lorca. Seismologists say these factors help explain why only moderate-level quakes caused so much damage.


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