GUATEMALA CITY - A strong earthquake off the coast of Guatemala on Wednesday shook buildings in Guatemala City, killed eight people and caused evacuations as far away as Mexico City.

A local fire chief said the dead were buried under rubble in three different Guatemalan towns. It was the strongest earthquake to hit Guatemala since a 7.5 magnitude quake in 1976 that claimed more than 20,000 lives.

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Landslides were blocking roads in some areas, authorities said, and about 40 houses were severely damaged after the 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit at 10:35 a.m. local time (1635 GMT).


The quake struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast, 15 miles (24 km) south of Champerico, Guatemala, and 101 miles (163 km) west-southwest of the capital, the US Geological Survey said.