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10 killed by magnitude-7.4 earthquake in Guatemala

Updated: 2012-11-08 06:16
( Xinhua)

MEXICO CITY - Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said at least 10 people were killed when a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 shook off coast of Guatemala on Wednesday, according to reports reaching here.

The president said red alert was declared and there were reports of houses and schools destroyed, adding that a damage report will be given at a press conference.

He also said that tsunami alert has been issued as a precautionary measure in case of aftershocks. The president will address the nation soon to determine measures in coping with the aftereffect of the earthquake.

Guatemalan Communication Minister Alejandro Sinibaldir told Xinhua that there are several roadblocks due to landslides, while Energy Minister Eric Archer said the quake left 73,000 homes without power, mostly in the department of San Marcos.

Social network users in Guatemala confirmed that the move was felt in Guatemala City, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Alta Verapaz, Quetzaltenango, Suchitepequez, Zacapa, Escuintla and Quiche.

Some users reported the fall of telephone lines, power failure and destroy of houses in different parts of the country, according to the online edition of the local daily Prensa Libren.

The quake struck at 1635 GMT at a depth of 41 km, with its epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, about 24 km southwest of Champerico, Guatemala, according to the USGS.

The earthquake was also felt in Mexico and Salvador and activated alarms in these two countries.  

Mexico's National Seismological Service of Mexico earthquake recorded a magnitude-7.3 earthquake 68 km southwest of Chiapas, Mexico and reported seven aftershocks.

In Mexico City, thousands of people left offices and schools according to evacuation plans. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said through his twitter account that the quake was felt apparently in parts of the Mexican capital. He said there is no damage reported yet and he invited citizens to undertake necessary evacuations.  

"We are checking facilities as planned, helicopter patrols and cameras," Ebrard said.

The earthquake also prompted evacuation orders for tsunami risk in Salvador.  

This was the strongest earthquake ever happened in Guatemala since February 4, 1976 when a 7.5-magnitude earthquake left nearly 23, 000 people dead, 76,000 wounded and more than a million people homeless.