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Magnitude-6.9-quake strikes southern Mexico, northern Guatemala, kills at least 2

July 7, 2014

Updated at 3 p.m. on Monday

PALENQUE, Mexico – A strong, magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocked parts of southern Mexico and Guatemala on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 40 others.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake — initially measured at a magnitude of 7.1 — struck the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Chiapas state at about 1124 GMT at a depth of 60 kilometers (37 miles).

The epicenter was located just two kilometers from the Mexican town of Puerto Madero, and 200 kilometers from Guatemala City.

About 10 minor aftershocks were recorded. No tsunami warnings were issued for the area.

In Mexico, a 51-year-old man died in the town of Huixtla, near the border with Guatemala, after a wall fell on him at his home, the Chiapas state civil protection department said in a statement.

Six others were injured in the state when shelters collapsed on them, it added, without offering details on the severity of the wounds.

In Guatemala, a newborn baby died in a hospital in western San Marcos when part of a ceiling caved in, President Otto Pérez Molina told a press conference.

Pérez Molina added that an elderly woman had died from cardiac arrest, but it was not immediately clear if the death was related to the quake.

The Guatemalan president also said that 35 people had been injured, two of them critically. He added that so far, 70 homes had been reported damaged, more of half of them beyond repair.

Guatemala issued an orange alert, and classes were canceled in five departments as a precaution. Authorities were still taking stock of the damage and investigating possible deaths and injuries. Some roads were blocked by landslides triggered by the quake.

In Mexico, buildings and highways were cracked, and mountain roads collapsed, authorities said. At the airport in Tapachula, ceilings caved in, but flights were still operating.

Authorities were assessing damage in other areas of Chiapas, one of Mexico’s poorest states.

Pérez Molina and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto were to meet on Monday as previously scheduled to discuss immigration issues. The pair were expected to discuss the quake.

Temblors could be felt some 670 miles away in parts of Mexico City, where “for the moment there are no damages or injuries,” Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said.

The quake also was felt in El Salvador, where no injuries or damage were reported.

Mexico is prone to seismic activity, with earthquakes occurring most often along the Pacific coast.

Western Guatemala was rocked by a magnitude-7.4 earthquake in November 2012. Forty-four people were killed.

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