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Earthquakes rattle Guatemala, kill at least 1

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Mon September 19, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Four earthquakes strike within hours
  • The largest had a magnitude of 5.8
  • Firefighters are on the scene to assist

Guatemala City, Guatemala (CNN) -- Four earthquakes struck southern Guatemala within hours of each other on Monday, killing at least one person and rattling residents in the capital city, officials said.

The largest of the quakes had a magnitude of 5.8 and was located about 53 kilometers (32 miles) southeast of Guatemala City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The other quakes had reported magnitudes of 4.8 or lower, and hit within less than about 40 miles of the capital.

At least three people died in the department of Santa Rosa, according to local firefighters.

However, Alejandro Maldonado, head of Guatemala's National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, told reporters that just one person was confirmed dead.

President Alvaro Colom said three people were reported missing in the aftermath of the quakes, but that those reports had not been confirmed.

"There are people buried in the rubble," Evelyn Ruano, a spokeswoman in the president's office, told CNN. She said firefighters are on the scene to assist.

The state-run AGN news agency reported that seven vehicles were buried by the quake, while several houses in the area had suffered damage.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake was reported by the USGS to be some 25 miles deep. Tremors were felt in the capital.

CNN's Helena DeMoura and journalist Patzy Vasquez contributed to this report.

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