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5 dead as 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocks southern Mexico, Guatemala

Published time: July 07, 2014 11:36
Edited time: July 07, 2014 19:44
A damaged house is pictured in the San Marcos region, in the northwest of Guatemala, in this July 7, 2014.(Reuters / Municipal fire department)

A damaged house is pictured in the San Marcos region, in the northwest of Guatemala, in this July 7, 2014.(Reuters / Municipal fire department)

At least 5 people have been killed after a powerful 7.1-magnitude quake struck the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and neighboring Guatemala.

The earthquake struck 14km offshore from the city of Mazatan in Mexico, but strong tremors were felt across the border in Guatemala. Significant damages were reported in the region of San Marcos in Guatemala where the quake damaged buildings and triggered landslides.

"This quake was pretty strong. There are houses destroyed," Luis Rivera, governor of the San Marcos region, told Reuters.

Two people died as buildings collapsed in the Guatemalan town of Pati, in the border province of San Marcos, firefighters’ spokesman Raul Hernande said. A newborn baby was killed after a collapsed wall hit him in a San Marcos hospital, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said in an interview to radio Emisores Unidos. In another case, a woman in Quetzaltenango died from a heart attack.

Municipal firefighters stand outside a damaged building in the San Marcos region, in the northwest of Guatemala, in this July 7, 2014 .(Reuters / Municipal fire department)

The spokesman for the fire services added that twelve people were injured and 50 houses in the region were evacuated.

Mexicans and Guatemalans alike voiced their reaction to the earthquake on Twitter, with some people claiming the quake was felt as far south as El Salvador.

Mexico is located atop three large tectonic plates and is one of the world's most seismically-active regions. The last powerful quake struck the region in May, 303km from the popular beach resort of Puerto Vallarta.

The country has a long history of destructive earthquakes. In 1985, more than 9,500 people were killed in Mexico City after an 8.1 earthquake hit the region.

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