El Salvador earthquake: 'Homeless' man killed after powerful tremor

Citizens of the Nicaraguan capital Managua were placed in evacuation centres as a preventative measure

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A man died when a major 7.3- magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of densely-populated El Salvador yesterday night.

The victim, who is believed to be homeless, was killed by an electricity pole that fell on impact and this was confirmed by San Miguel mayor Wilfredo Salgado on Twitter.

The off-shore earthquake hit about 42 miles west of neighbouring Nicaragua with a depth of 25 miles, and the epicentre was within 55 miles of the coast of El Salvador at 9.52pm local time.

Xiomara Amaya, who lives in the Usulutan area, said: “It felt really powerful, suddenly the whole house started to move.”

Emergency services said a dozen homes in Usulutan had been slightly damaged, however the coastal areas remained calm and the international airport was unaffected by the disaster.

Electricity was cut off in parts of the country and building walls crumbled, but there were no reports of widespread serious damage.

A 5.0-magnitude aftershock was felt throughout Central America with shaking reported in Guatemala, southern Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, western Panama and south-eastern Mexico.

There were no early reports of injuries or damage in neighbouring Honduras and Guatemala.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had alerted of possible flooding in the region but then withdrew the warning.

In 2001, two powerful earthquakes exactly one month apart killed more than 1,150 people combined while leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Two years ago, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific off El Salvador, triggering a brief tsunami warning but causing no major damage or casualties.