An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 shakes Guatemala and causes alarm, but no victims

Guatemala City, Feb 16 A strong earthquake that reached a magnitude of 6.8 on the open Richter scale shook Guatemala early this Wednesday, causing alarm among the population, but so far only some material damage has been reported, but no victims. According to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), the tremor occurred at 01:12 local time (07:12 GMT), and was noticeable throughout Guatemalan territory. The epicenter of the telluric movement was recorded on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and alarmed the population. The relief bodies, including the Guatemalan Red Cross (CRG) and the Volunteer and Municipal Firefighters, carry out monitoring to establish the damage. That strong earthquake was followed by two other aftershocks, with a magnitude of 5 and 4.8 on the Richter scale, respectively, according to the scientific entity with an epicenter in the same place. The Insivumeh detailed that the epicenter was located at a distance of 54 kilometers from the city of Mazatenango, 57 from Retalhuleu and 84 from Escuintla, all three located on the Pacific coast. Although landslides on highways, structural damage in some communities and lack of electricity are reported on social networks, the authorities have limited themselves to reporting that they are collecting information throughout the country about what happened. The spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), Rodolfo Flores, explained to local radio station Emisoras Unidas that the earthquake was sensitive throughout Guatemala and that an official bulletin will be issued in the next few hours. Flores appealed to the population for calm so as not to create anxiety due to the earthquakes. “The earthquake was sensitive throughout the national territory and work is being done on that basis to collect data on the damage it could cause,” said the official. The strong movement of earth was also noticeable in Salvadoran and Mexican territory. Guatemala is a highly seismic country and the population still remembers the great earthquake that devastated Guatemala on February 4, 1976. That earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale, which also occurred at dawn and had its epicenter in the Caribbean department of Izabal, destroyed three thirds of the country, caused more than 23,000 deaths, 76,000 injuries and left more of a million victims.

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