A shallow 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Nicaragua on Thursday close to several cities, including the capital, injuring at least 24 people and damaging dozens of homes.
The strong quake struck at 5:27 pm (2327 GMT) at a depth of 13 kilometers (eight miles), according to the US Geological
The epicenter was 10 kilometers west of Valle San Francisco and 44 kilometers north-northwest of the capital Managua, the USGS said.
"The quake was felt throughout the Pacific coast and we have reports that it was also felt in the center of the country," SINAPRED disaster response network Guillermo Gonzalez told reporters.
President Daniel Ortega decreed a yellow alert, cancelling school classes in the departments of Managua and Leon and urging people to take precautions after more than 350 aftershocks were recorded.
At least six of the aftershocks had a magnitude greater than five, and more were expected to rattle affected areas in the coming hours.
"No one can predict what might happen in the coming hours," said Ortega, who activated emergency services in Managua and Leon.
Nagarote, a town on Lake Managua 30 kilometers from the epicenter, was hardest-hit, officials said.
People fled their homes in panic in several towns and cities, including in the capital, which lost power momentarily.
Gonzalez reported that the victims were injured in the towns of Nagarote and Mateare.
In those towns and in Momotombo, the roofs and walls of at least 139 homes collapsed, and a landslide was reported south of Managua.
The quake was also felt in neighboring El Salvador and Costa Rica.
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