A strong 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit western Guatemala early today, killing at least two people and causing power outages, as well as damage to some buildings, officials said. The quake, originally estimated to measure 6.6 on the Richter scale before being revised upward, occurred at 1:29 am (0729 GMT). The epicenter of the quake was about 156 kilometers (97 miles) west of Guatemala City in the department of San Marcos, the Institute of Seismology said. The tremor was felt across most of the country, including the capital, as well as in neighboring Mexico, according to Guatemala's National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction. "Moderate damage is reported to houses in southwestern areas and there are power outages in several parts of the country," agency spokesman Julio Sanchez said, adding that a 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit across the border in Mexico minutes after the first quake. A man was killed in the southwestern Guatemalan village of San Sebastian after an old church collapsed, the agency said. News reports said another victim, a woman, died of a heart attack in a small village near the border with Mexico. President Jimmy Morales posted a message on Twitter, saying "stay calm and be alert to possible aftershocks." Guatemala is in a risk zone for tremors, located where the Caribbean Cocos tectonic plates converge with North America's tectonic plates. San Marcos was hit by earthquakes in 2012 and 2014 that left dozens dead.
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