At least two dead as earthquake hits Central America

At least two dead as earthquake hits Central America

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake on the Pacific Coast has jolted a wide area of southern Mexico and Central America.

At least two people are reported dead and dozens of houses damaged in Guatemala.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 6.23am local time (11:23am GMT) on the Pacific Coast five miles (eight kilometres) north-east of Puerto Madero, near the Guatemala 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 after being hurt by collapsed walls in the Guatemalan town of San Marcos near the Mexico border.

He reported damage in at least 30 homes, as well as landslides and collapsed utility poles. There were also reports of power outages in Guatemala.

In the Mexican state of Chiapas, where the quake was centred, 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 swathe of southern Mexico and as far away as Mexico City, but officials had no immediate reports of damage.

There were reports of power outages and rock slides on some roadways in Guatemala.

Photos posted on social media sites and published by the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre showed buildings with huge cracks across their facades in San Marcos, and one which apparently suffered a partial collapse.

In the city of Tapachula, near the epicentre, city employee Omar Santos said: “Buildings were moving, windows broke in some houses and businesses, and people ran through the streets in the dark”.

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