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Strong quake kills 2, injures 32 in Guatemala

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

GUATEMALA CITY, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina confirmed Monday a powerful 6.9 earthquake has left two people dead and another 32 injured.

The early-morning quake, which could be felt as far away as Mexico City, hit the Guatemalan region of San Marcos the hardest, killing an elderly woman and an infant.

During a press conference held at the office of the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction (Conred), Perez Molina said the sleeping infant died when the seismic movement caused a false ceiling to collapse, whereas the elderly woman suffered a heart attack brought on by fright.

"We also have a report of 32 injured, some with blows to the head and a couple of children with fractures," said the president. "We also have 41 severely damaged homes, 17 moderately damaged homes, and 22 lightly damaged homes."

The civil protection service said rescuers evacuated 36 people from damaged buildings and that 44 schools had sustained damage, though the severity had yet to be determined.

"This quake has left us with moderate damage, ??their not light. We will continue to monitor all the areas where problems have been reported," said the president.

Communications Minister Alejando Sinibaldi said several highways in San Marcos, 252 km west of the capital Guatemala City, were blocked by collapsed buildings.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the 6.9- magnitude quake hit near the border between Guatemala and Mexico, 2 km northeast of Puerto Madero, Mexico, 22 km southwest of Tapachula, Mexico, and 204 km west of Guatemala City.

In Mexico's southern state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, the quake left one person dead, the state system of civil protection said.

The victim, Jose Molina, of Huixtla Township, in the Soconusco region, was crushed when a wall collapsed.

The roof of the Tapachula Airport was also damaged, but there was no immediate report of casualties.

In the region of Soconusco, several homes were affected, with cracks in walls and ceilings.

In Mexico City, a tree fell onto a taxi due to the temblor. The driver and passenger were taken to a hospital.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140707/strong-quake-kills-2-injures-32-guatemala