GUATEMALA CITY – The powerful earthquake that struck southwestern Guatemala early Thursday left one person injured and caused light-to-moderate damage to buildings and public infrastructure in five provinces, officials said.
The injured person has already been released from the hospital, the head of the Conred disaster-management agency, Sergio Garcia Cabañas, told a press conference here.
Homes, schools, churches, roads, and bridges were among the 22 structures that suffered damage in the temblor, he said.
All of the affected structures can be repaired, Garcia Cabañas said.
He was joined at the press conference by Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Invisumeh), who said that the quake struck at 6:31 am and was felt up and down the country’s Pacific coast and in the western highlands, as well as in neighboring El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.
Invisumeh initially estimated the intensity of the quake at magnitude-6.9, but subsequently revised that downward to magnitude-6.7.
The US Geological Service, meanwhile, rated the temblor at magnitude-6.8.
The original earthquake was followed by three aftershocks, the strongest of which was a magnitude-4.3, Sanchez said.
“We worry about the high level of humidity in the soil because if there were another major earthquake, there would be landslides,” he said, adding that the ground is completely saturated in many areas.
Last week’s magnitude-6.6 quake that left five people dead in San Marcos province was followed by three days of nearly continuous aftershocks, the Invisumeh director noted.
Via Twitter, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales called on people to remain calm.