6.5-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Guatemala's Pacific Coastline
GUATEMALA CITY – Just as Guatemala was beginning to emerge from the rumble, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook the country's Pacific coastline on Sunday, just four days after a major quake killed dozens and left thousands without homes in the region.
People fled buildings and homes in panic in cities along Guatemala's coast near its border with Mexico on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or major damage. Locals were further panicked by four aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 4.5 to 5.0.
Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology and Hydrology, urged residents to avoid returning to buildings and homes with structural damage from the last quake.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicenter was 19 miles (30 kilometers) west-southwest of Champerico, Guatemala, and 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of Guatemala City. It had a depth of 27 kilometers (17 miles) and was centered off the country's coast.
Seismologists say it was the strongest aftershock yet from a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that killed 52 people in western Guatemala on Wednesday.
That quake, the country's strongest in 36 years, left thousands of people without homes, electricity or water; and emotionally devastated one small town by wiping out almost an entire family.
It was felt as far as Mexico City. It affected as many as 1.2 million Guatemalans and was followed by 70 aftershocks in the first 24 hours.
Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina had deployed more than 2,000 soldiers to the region to help with the disaster. The U.S. State Department said it was sending some $50,000 in immediate disaster relief, including clean water, fuel and blankets.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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