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Strong 7.5 earthquake hits Pacific coast of Guatemala

Associated Press
Nov 08, 2012 at 01:49am IST

Guatemala City: A strong earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Guatemala on Wednesday, rocking the capital and shaking buildings as far away as Mexico City and El Salvador. Guatemala's emergency management agency said on its Twitter account that it had received preliminary reports of one death from the quake.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was a possibility of a local tsunami, within 100 or 200 miles of the epicentre, but they were not issuing an immediate warning for the broader region. The magnitude-7.5 quake, about 20 miles deep, was centered about 30 miles off the coastal town of Champerico.

Nicaragua's disaster management agency said it had issued a local tsunami alert, but there were no immediate reports of a tsunami on the country's Pacific coast. People fled buildings in Guatemala City, in Mexico City and in the capital of the Mexican state of Chiapas, across the border from Guatemala.

Strong 7.5 earthquake hits Pacific coast of Guatemala

Guatemala's emergency management agency said on its Twitter account that it had received preliminary reports of one death from the quake.

A reporter in San Marcos about 80 miles north of the epicentre, told local radio station Emisoras Unidas that houses had collapsed onto residents and smashed televisions and other appliances had been scattered into the streets of the town, which sits in a mountainous, mostly rural region.

The local fire department said on its Twitter account that a school had collapsed and eight injured people had been taken to a nearby hospital. Local radio reported widespread power outages and cuts in telephone service.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said in a radio interview that the country had been placed on its highest level of disaster alert and he asked people to evacuate tall buildings as an emergency measure.

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