A powerful earthquake toppled dozens of homes in Honduras and Belize, killing at least six people and injuring 40 as terrified residents fled their homes across much of Central America.
The magnitude-7.1 quake struck at 2.24am local time yesterday off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, 80 miles north east of the beach town of La Ceiba, according to the US Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.
Reynaldo Funez, 15, was buried in his house in Pineda de la Lima, 120 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa, and six-year-old Deily Yazmin Santos was killed when her house collapsed in the beach town of Morazan, national fire commander Col Carlos Cordero said.
Ana Maria Rivera, spokeswoman for Honduras’ Permanent Emergency Commission, said Jose Vicente Maradiaga died of a heart attack during the earthquake in the seaside town of Tela, and a three-year-old boy was crushed when his roof collapsed in Mapulaca near the Salvadoran border.
“It was an earthquake of great proportions,” she said.
Two other people were killed in home collapses, according to the commission’s chief, Marcos Burgos. At least 40 people were injured, most along the Caribbean coast.
The earthquake destroyed at least 57 homes and damaged another 65, the commission said. It said 14 schools were damaged, as well as two Roman Catholic churches and three bridges.
In Belize, about five homes collapsed and a reporter saw at least 25 others with severe damage. Many of the wooden shacks on stilts sunk several feet into the ground.
The quake was felt strongly in El Salvador, Guatemala and northern Nicaragua, but no major damage was reported. People in Mexico and on several Caribbean islands also reported feeling the earthquake.
The USGS said a magnitude-4.8 aftershock struck off Honduras about three hours after the quake.