By Ria Novosti
A 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Guatemala on Wednesday killed at least 48 people, the country’s president said.
President Otto Perez Molina told reporters during his visit to the disaster area in the San Marcos state on the border with Mexico that the tremor also destroyed over 50 homes and injured more than 150 people, while scores of local residents were still missing.
The US Geological Survey earlier said the quake struck at 16:35 GMT on Wednesday some 24 kilometers south of the coastal town of Champerico and 163 kilometers southwest of Guatemala City. The depth at the epicenter was 41.6 kilometers.
The earthquake damaged roads and several power lines, cutting transportation links to the region and leaving some 73,000 homes without electricity.
Molina declared a national alert and ordered more than 2,000 soldiers from a base in San Marcos to help with disaster relief.
© RIA Novosti.
How earthquakes are measured
The quake was felt in neighboring Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement there was no threat of a widespread tsunami.
According to Guatemalan officials, it was the most devastating earthquake in the country since 1976, when a 7.5-magnitude quake killed more than 23,000 people.