Strong Earthquake Strikes Off Guatemala; Deaths, Injuries Reported

GUATEMALA CITY (November 7, 2012)--A strong earthquake struck Wednesday off the Pacific coast of Guatemala that the U.S. Geological Survey says had a 7.4 magnitude.

The quake shook buildings in Guatemala City and was strong enough to send people running into the streets as far away as Mexico City.

Guatemala's president said he was informed that the death toll from the quake has risen to 39 people.

President Otto Perez Molina said the dead are in the northwestern state of San Marcos, near the Mexican border, where the majority of the damage occurred.

A reporter in the town of San Marcos, about 80 miles north of the epicenter, told a local radio station that houses had collapsed with people inside.

Fire officials say a school also collapsed and eight injured people had been taken to a nearby hospital.

Nicaragua's disaster agency has issued a local tsunami alert, but so far there have been no reports of a tsunami.

El Salvador's Civil Protection agency said officials were evacuating some coastal communities as a precautionary measure.

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