At least one person has died after a very powerful but deep earthquake struck the border between Mexico and Guatemala, sending shockwaves that could be felt by around 12 million people across neighbouring countries.
The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake at magnitude 6.9, and there were reports of landslides, power cuts, damage to homes and injuries across Guatemala and Mexico.
One man was killed when a Catholic church collapsed in San Sebastian, in Guatemala’s Retalhuleu province, emergency services officials said. Among the more than a dozen people injured were a little girl in San Marcos, Guatemala, who was hurt by a sheet of metal roofing sliding off a building, according to local media.
The earthquake struck 15km (10 miles) north-west of San Marcos at around 1.30am local time (8.30am BST), at a depth of 111km.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said that the relatively deep epicentre, hitting just inland of the Pacific coast, meant there was no risk of a tsunami.
Guatemala lies on a major fault zone, and the tremor was preceded by a series of significantly smaller earthquakes out to sea. An aftershock then followed around 20 minutes later, the USGS said.
“The earthquake was felt throughout the national territory and damage assessment has begun,” said Julio Sanchez, spokesman for Guatemala’s Conred national disaster centre.
The earthquake struck shortly after a series of smaller quakes hit the Pacific coast off Chiapas.
The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the magnitude 6.9 quake was 8km (5 miles) southwest of Tajumulco, Guatemala.
Power went off in the Guatemalan departments of Retalhuleu, Quetzaltenango and Suchitepequez, authorities said.
And across the border in Chiapas, Mexico, governor Manuel Velasco said via Twitter that there were reports of cracked walls and shattered windows in Huixtla. The Civil Protection Authority posted photos to Twitter showing damaged buildings and homes.
The state’s authorities said the quake was felt throughout the state.
In late 2012, a far shallower 7.4-magnitude quake that struck off the coast near the Guatemala-Mexico border killed at least 48 people and trapped others under rubble.