Strong earthquake rattles Central America as hurricane makes landfall

Calvin SaundersNov 25, 2016

A strong quake has struck off the Pacific coast of Central America, just as the region's Caribbean coast is being lashed by Hurricane Otto.

Shaking could be felt in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua as well as the Costa Rican capital San Jose.

A magnitude 7.0 quake occurred off El Salvador's Pacific coast Thursday, but the country's civil defense agency said there were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

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Guatemala, like its neighbors in Central America, regularly experiences earthquakes caused by shifts in the Earth's tectonic plates.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre warned that "hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300km of the quake epicentre".

There are no immediate reports of damages, injuries or deaths.

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Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency in his country due to the quake and the hurricane, a government spokeswoman said.

Hurricane Otto, believed to be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Central America since 1934, hit outside the town of San Juan de Nicaragua just after noon on Thursday.

INTI OCON/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople carrying belongings and a pet leave their house at "El Canal" neighbourhood before Hurricane Otto hits Bluefields, Nicaragua on November 24, 2016.

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The US National Hurricane Center warned that the hurricane's heavy rains were likely to cause risky flooding and mudslides.

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