The United States Geological Survey measured a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in southern Mexico and Central America on Monday that set off mudslides and damaged scores of buildings. The quake was first calculated at a magnitude of 7.1 but was later lowered to 6.9.
The Weather Channel reports the earthquake occurred at 6:23 a.m. local time, five miles northeast of Puerto Madero, Mexico. The epicenter was near the Guatemalan border, where strong tremors were also felt.
“I thought the house was going to collapse,”
said Claudia Gonzales, 32, who ran to the street in the town of Comitan with her 1-year-old daughter.
According to U.S.A. Today, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina spoke at a press conference said at least three people had died, including a new born baby and 33 people were injured, many with head injuries. He also reported damage to more than 80 homes. Another woman, in Quetzaltenango, died from a heart attack, although Perez said it had not been verified that her death was related to the quake.
“With the reports we have so far, we can say this quake has caused moderate damage. It’s not light damage,”
The Associated Press reports power outages and rock slides on some roadways in Guatemala. Cracks opened up in buildings, and there were landslides in the area, authorities said.
CNN is reporting that the quake damaged part of an airport in Tapachula, a Mexican city of about 300,000 people near the Guatemala border. Lights hung precariously by wires, and debris littered a floor, pictures that the city government posted to Twitter show.
The San Marcos region was also affected by today’s tremors. This caused panic as residents were reminded of a magnitude 7.4 earthquake in this area in 2012 that killed 48 people.
In Chiapas, where the quake was centered, panicked people poured into the streets and the Red Cross said it was treating some frightened adults and children.
The quake was also felt in El Salvador.
CBS News states that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reviewed the event but did not issue any warning to California or Hawaii based on the seismic data.
Today’s earthquake is not the first Mexico has seen this year. In April, a 7.5 magnitude quake rocked Mexico City but no damage was reported. Then in May, a 6.4 magnitude quake that was centered 60 miles northwest of Acapulco killed two people.
Today’s earthquake in Mexico was was centered 37 miles below the surface.
Photo via AFP/Getty images