Another deadly quake strikes El Salvador
Patients of a San Salvador children's hospital sit outside after being evacuated during the quake
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNN) -- Rescuers in El Salvador worked to free victims of the country's second earthquake in a month as the death toll from the temblor rose to 173.
Tuesday's 6.1 magnitude quake injured another 1,557 people and destroyed more than 2,200 homes, presidential spokesman Louis Lopenz Portillo said. Those numbers are expected to rise, he said.
Early reports said the quake may have been an aftershock from a magnitude 7.7 tremor that hit January 13 and killed at least 827 people, left tens of thousands homeless and caused $1 billion in damage.
Waverly Person of the U.S. Geological Survey said that the epicenter of Tuesday's quake, initially thought to have been centered in the same area as last month's quake, was actually about 45 miles farther inland, about 15 miles east-southeast of San Salvador.
"We've got to do some more looking," Person said. "It's considerably away from where the main shock was."
Damage hit "mostly in the cities of Cojutepeque, San Vicente, San Martin and close to the capital San Salvador as well," Ronnie Gutierrez of the relief organization CARE told CNN International.
"It was not as severe as the one exactly one month ago," he said, predicting difficult rescue operations.
"This hit areas that were not so severely damaged by the first earthquake," Gutierrez said. "So now the relief is going to have to be spread out even further than it was in terms of area and number of people."
Some damage reported
The earthquake struck just before 8:30 a.m. (13:50 Greenwich Mean Time) on Tuesday, frightening residents and sending them fleeing into the streets. The Salvadoran government dispatched military helicopters to assess the damage.
Students of Santa Cecilia Colegio gather outside following the earthquake
Person said that U.S. Embassy personnel in San Salvador told him the quake had caused some landslides and that some damage was reported.
Rafael Callejas, director for CARE International in El Salvador, also reported landslides and said that three injuries had been reported.
"We know that there have been landslides in at least three cities and also, classes have been suspended and government offices closed for the day," Callejas said.
Callejas said several aftershocks have been felt since the morning quake.
Hundreds of people were believed buried in a mudslide when the side of a mountain near Santa Tecla came loose and buried the middle-class suburb of San Salvador.
More than 3,000 aftershocks have rattled the region since the January 13 quake, the worst in El Salvador in a decade.
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U.S. Geological Survey
Central America earthquake map, last 14 days
El Diario de Hoy de El Salvador (Spanish newspaper)
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