Strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocks El Salvador: USGS

The Salvadoran environment ministry said the quake was even stronger, with a magnitude of 6.8.
The Salvadoran environment ministry said the quake was even stronger, with a magnitude of 6.8.PHOTO: USGS

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) - A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador on Thursday (May 30) near the capital San Salvador but the authorities said there were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

The quake was so strong it was likely felt throughout Central America, officials said.

The quake struck in the Pacific Ocean around 40km south of San Salvador at a depth of 65km, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Salvadoran environment ministry said the quake was even stronger, with a magnitude of 6.8.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue an alert for the quake but the environment ministry issued one of its own, predicting sea level variations of up to 30cm.

Coastal residents should avoid entering the water for four hours after the quake, the ministry said on Twitter.

President-elect Nayib Bukele said on Twitter that the earthquake was felt "throughout 100 per cent of the country". No casualties or damage have been reported so far but police and firemen are fanning out across the country to evaluate the situation, said Civil Protection chief Jorge Melendez.

The education ministry cancelled classes in coastal areas.

The Salvadoran government gave slightly different figures for the location of the quake.

It placed it more shallow than the USGS at 48km, and said the epicentre was a bit farther out to sea, about 66km from the coastal town of La Libertad.