25 Nov 2016

Strong quake shakes Central American countries

10:01 am on 25 November 2016

A magnitude 7 earthquake has struck near the Pacific coast of Central America.

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Photo: USGS

The quake was very shallow at 10.3km below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect. Its epicentre was located some 149km south-southwest of Puerto Triunfo in El Salvador, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was initially measured as a 7.2 magnitude quake but was quickly downgraded.

Emergency services in El Salvador said on Twitter there were no immediate reports of damage at a national level.

New Zealand Civil Defence said there was no tsunami threat to New Zealand from the quake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned of possible hazardous tsunami waves within 300km of the earthquake's epicentre but later said the threat had passed.

Earlier on Thursday, a Category 2 hurricane hit land near the southeastern coast of Nicaragua, where thousands had already been evacuated from vulnerable coastal areas and into shelters.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency due to the quake and Hurricane Otto, his spokeswoman said.