6.5-magnitude quake strikes off Guatemala’s coast

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook Guatemala’s Pacific coastline on Friday evening, causing some adobe homes to collapse in a town near the epicenter. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was 6 kilometers (3 miles) south of the small town of Pajapita, near the border with Mexico, and 168 kilometers west of Guatemala City. It had a depth of 67 kilometers (41 miles).

Guatemala’s fire department issued a statement saying some poorly-built homes were destroyed in the town of Patzicia, located between the epicenter and the capital city. The Central American nation’s natural disaster agency said that at least three uninhabited homes collapsed, and two highways were blocked by landslides.

The quake was felt strongly in the capital of Guatemala City, and caused blackouts in some areas, but authorities did not immediately report any damage there.

“People living in Guatemala City’s tall buildings were panicked,” said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology.

People ran outside their homes and some motorists stopped their cars in the capital. An aftershock of a lower magnitude further frightened capital-dwellers.

The temblor was also felt in neighboring Mexico and El Salvador, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in those countries.

Friday’s temblor 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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