Strong Quake Hits Mexico, Guatemala, At Least 2 Dead

Mexico City
Strong Quake Hits Mexico, Guatemala, At Least 2 Dead

A magnitude-6.9 earthquake on the Pacific Coast jolted a wide area of southern Mexico and Central America today. At least two people are reported dead and dozens of houses damaged in Guatemala.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 0453 IST on the Pacific Coast 2 kilometers north-northeast of Puerto Madero, near the Guatemalan border. It initially calculated the magnitude at 7.1 but later lowered the figure to 6.9.

Firefighters spokesman Raul Hernandez said at least two people died in their homes from collapsed walls in the Guatemalan town of San Marcos near the Mexico border. Hernandez reported damage in at least 30 homes, as well as landslides and collapsed utility poles.

There were reports of power outages in Guatemala as well. In the Mexican state of Chiapas, where the quake was centered, panicked people poured into the streets and the Red Cross said it was treating some frightened adults and children.

"I thought the house was going to collapse," said Claudia Gonzales, 32, who ran to the street in the town of Comitan with her one-year-old daughter.

The quake was felt across a broad swath of southern Mexico and as far away as Mexico City, but officials had no immediate reports of damage.

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