Guatemala hit by another powerful earthquake

Image source, AP
Image caption,
The new earthquake brought panic to Guatemala's devastated San Marcos region, where up to 10,000 houses may have been destroyed

A strong earthquake has hit Guatemala just days after at least 52 people were killed by the country's most powerful quake in decades.

The 6.1-magnitude tremor had its epicentre off Guatemala's Pacific coast.

It was also felt in El Salvador and Mexico's southern Chiapas state.

There are no immediate reports of deaths or major damage, but the second strong quake in less than a week caused panic in the Central American country.

President Otto Perez Molina was briefing journalists on the relief operation when the quake struck, says the Prensa Libre newspaper.

Mr Perez Molina, government officials and journalists evacuated the building immediately.

Devastated region

The earthquake hit at 16:15 local time (22:15 GMT).

"We felt it very, very strongly here," Red Cross spokesperson Vinicio Saraza in San Marcos state told the Reuters news agency.

San Marcos, a mountainous state near the Mexican border, was the region most devastated by Wednesday's 7.2-magnitude tremor - the most powerful to hit Guatemala since 1976.

In San Cristobal Cucho, 10 members of the same family were killed when their house collapsed.

Most of the victims were from the town of San Marcos, and there were fatalities also in the neighbouring region of Quetzaltenango.

Thousands of people lost their houses and were left without power.

President Perez Molina said 22 people were still missing.

Some 2,000 soldiers had joined hundreds of rescuers in the efforts to find survivors.

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