The death toll reached nine Thursday from two earthquakes that injured dozens of people and damaged about a tenth of the buildings in the southeast Spanish town of Lorca.
The second earthquake, which measured 5.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, was felt as far away as Madrid. The first, less than two hours earlier, was measured at a magnitude of 4.5.
Their epicenters were a few kilometers outside Lorca, in a region that has long been considered among the most vulnerable to quakes in the Iberian Peninsula because of its proximity to a large fault beneath the Mediterranean,
Described as the 'worst in greater than 50 years', the aftershock which measured 5.2 on the Richter scale - saw houses reduced to rubble and the bell-tower collapse.
Whilst thousands of residents spent the night on the street numerous fearing their houses would collapse the Red Cross handed out blankets and food and attended to the 167 people who are reported injured.
Lorca's Rafael Méndez and Virgen del Alcázar hospitals were evacuated, with almost 500 patients being moved to other centres in the region.
At least 20,000 people are unable to return home, and greater than 500 people queued up for food in the early hours of the morning,