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Magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocks Costa Rica's coast

Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 14th November, 2017

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - A powerful earthquake measuring 6.5 magnitude struck off the Costa Rica coast on Sunday night, toppling power lines and triggering rockslides near the epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was centred about 15 kilometres southeast of the popular beach tourism city of Jaco, which is about 100 kilometres miles southwest of the capital, San Jose.

It added that the quake struck at a depth of about 20 kilometres.

Local reports noted that the impact of the quake sent people rushing outside their houses in panic.

Following initial reports, the country’s Public Safety Ministry said it had received information about two serious injuries as a result of the quake.

It noted that while the tremor, which hit in a lightly populated area along the Pacific Coast did not lead to any major infrastructure damage, electricity was knocked out in some areas as power lines and poles fell.

The government also reported rockslides obstructing highways near the epicentre and the National Emergency Commission confirmed hours later that there was no chance of a tsunami.

Officials said that four minutes after the initial earthquake, a magnitude 5.2 aftershock struck the region.

Taking to Twitter, President Luis Guillermo Solis said that the government was still gathering information and urged people to remain calm and prepare for aftershocks.

The Costa Rican Red Cross also confirmed that it had no reports of casualties.

The quake was even felt in neighboring Central American countries like El Salvador and Panama.

In El Salvador, authorities said that the quake knocked over several electrical posts, while in Panama, the civil protection agency said there were no reports of damage.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica's National Emergency Commission said it is monitoring the situation.

Later in the day, in Jaco, officials said that two people succumbed to heart attacks during the earthquake and one other died in Coronado. 

Officials evacuated one structure after its walls showed signs of collapsing.

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