Earthquake Today: 6.5 Quake Hits Guatemala, Kills 1 and Injures at Least 11 (+Photos)
A 6.5 magnitude earthquake today hit just four miles away of Pajapita, Guatemala, and just five miles from Ciudad Tecun Uman, causing some adobe houses to collapse near the epicenter, killing one woman, and injuring at least 11 people.
The quake hit at 12:30 a.m. UTC, or 6:30 p.m. local time, and has caused damage in multiple cities.
In addition, two other cities–Suchiate in Mexico (12 miles northeast) and Coatepeque in Guatemala (14 miles west)– were also nearby.
The quake was on the Pacific side of the country, right near the border with Mexico. There was strong shaking along the coast for hundreds of miles in both directions from the quake, according to the United States Geological Service.
The quake was felt strongly in the capital, Guatemala City, but authorities have not reported any immediate damages. It struck 104 miles (168 kilometers) west of the capital. It has caused blackouts in some parts of the country.
People ran outside their homes and some motorists stopped their cars.
“People living in Guatemala City’s tall buildings were panicked,” said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology.
At least 11 people were injured, volunteer firefighters told Prensa Libre. A 70-year-old woman died from heart failure in Coatepeque.
Other people and areas impacted included:
-Three people, including a pregnant woman, were injured in San Marcos
-Two people were injured in Quetzaltenango
-San Pedro and San Marcos have both lost power
-The municipalities of Chichicastenango, Chiché, Chinique, Zacualpa, Joyabaj and Pachalum, Quiche are without power
-Four homes collapsed in San Miguel Siguila, Quetzaltenango
-A house caught fire in Tiquisate
-A house collapsed in Sebastian Lemoa, Quiché
-Some poorly-built homes were destroyed in the town of Patzicia, located between the epicenter and the capital city
The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, the nation’s disaster management agency, issued an orange alert cautioning residents in the affected areas to pay attention to alerts by the government and news agencies.
Around 5,000 workers are working during the emergency, Alejandro Maldonado, executive secretary of the agency, told reporters during the evening, according to reported Emisoras Unidas, a radio station. The agency has 20,000 rations for families that are impacted by the quakes.
President Otto Perez Molina said via Twitter that “We’re doing a nationwide monitoring to assess the damage that may have resulted from the quake.”
Vice President Roxana Baldetti said, also via Twitter, that there were multiple aftershocks reported. “I’m waiting for reports from relief agencies to see if there are human and material losses,” she said.
After the first quake, a 5.4 magnitude quake struck slightly southeast of the first one, then a 4.1 aftershock happened soon after.
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Residents of of the Chimaltenango, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Retalhuleu, Huehuetenango, Escuintla, Jutiapa and El Progreso said the quake was loud and long, reported Prensa Libre.
The quakes were also felt in neighboring El Salvador and Mexico, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the country.
Friday’s 6.5 earthquake was one of the strongest in Guatemala since a 7.4-magnitude earthquake last November killed 44 people in the country’s west. That quake was the strongest in 36 years and left thousands of people homeless and without electricity or water.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.