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Strong 7.2 magnitude quake hits off Vanuatu

A strong 7.2 magnitude earthquake damaged buildings and roads in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu Thursday but there were no immediate reports of casualties, officials said. Hardest hit was the town of Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo, where the temblor knocked out power supplies, the director of the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office, Job Esau, told AFP.

"Reports are coming in that about 80 percent of businesses were closed down this morning because of the earthquake, which caused damage to the goods on the shelves. We have a few reports of buildings themselves receiving some structural damage, and some roads are also cracked," he said.

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