A strong earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador early Thursday, sending frightened residents running out of their homes in the predawn hours.
Authorities initially said a small tsunami was possible, but it did not appear. Civil defense employees were scouring the country, but had reported no victims and no significant damage hours after the quake.
“Monitoring of the entire country reflects that there has not been grave or widespread damage,” El Salvador’s Civil Defense agency said.
The environmental ministry said in a statement that the “greatest threat of tsunami for El Salvador has passed. There have not been variations in the sea level.”
Ivan Garcia of the Red Cross said it had received reports only of some small landslides on highways, but with no injuries.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the magnitude 6.6 quake was centered about 17 miles south-southeast of La Libertad, a suburb of the regional capital, Santa Tecla, at a depth of 40 miles.
The government closed 960 public schools in the coastal area for 24 hours and advised private schools to do the same.
It said that several aftershocks were recorded.
The earthquake was felt strongly in the capital, San Salvador. People left their homes with flashlights, and power was knocked out in at least some areas.