Two dead after strong quake hits Guatemala

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The 6.9 magnitude natural disaster struck with a depth of 94 kilometers according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A strong quake hit southwestern Guatemala near the border with Mexico in the early hours of Wednesday (June 14), killing one person after a church collapsed and cutting power, officials said.

"The quake was felt throughout the national territory and damage assessment has begun", said Julio Sanchez, spokesman for Guatemala's Conred national disaster centre.

The epicenter of the quake was about 156 kilometers (97 miles) west of Guatemala City in the department of San Marcos, the Institute of Seismology said.

President Jimmy Morales posted a message on Twitter saying "stay calm and be alert to possible aftershocks".

The region of the epicenter is mountainous and sparsely populated with communities scattered around the base of the dormant Tajumulco volcano.

In Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's second-largest city and about 32 miles southeast of San Marcos, damage was reported to 43 buildings; many walls were separated in older dwellings.

By its part, the National Seismological Service reported that 37 aftershocks were recorded.

There was no immediate warning of any tsunami.

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