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Strong earthquake shakes Guatemala, other parts of Central America

Thursday, June 14, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY -- A powerful earthquake shook Guatemala and parts of neighboring nations Wednesday, sending some residents in El Salvador's capital rushing into the streets for safety. Officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage.

The quake struck at 1:29 p.m. local time and was centered 70 miles southwest of Guatemala City off the Pacific coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It gave a preliminary calculation of magnitude of 6.8.

Benedicto Giron, spokesman for the National Disaster Reduction Center, said there had been some landslides in the southwest province of Escuintla but they apparently didn't cause any serious problems.

He noted that telephone service was down in some areas and information was trickling in slowly from the various provinces.

The Geological Survey said the temblor was strong enough and close enough to population areas to have caused damage.

The quake was felt strongly in neighboring El Salvador, where some people ran into the streets in the capital of San Salvador, but the Red Cross there said it had no reports of damage or injury. It was also felt in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center based in Hawaii said no tsunami was expected from the quake.

The region is prone to earthquakes. Almost 23,000 people died in a 1976 earthquake.


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