Panama Hit By Strong 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake; Residents Warned to Expect Aftershocks; No Tsunami Threat

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 14, 2014 12:24 PM EST

An earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude strength struck Panama on Tuesday.

"It was a pretty strong movement and there were several aftershocks, but in the monitoring we've carried out until now, we have not found material damage or injured people," Arturo Alvarado, national civil defense director, told AP.

REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
A view of a damaged road to Alto Hospicio commune after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique April 2, 2014. Chilean authorities on Wednesday were assessing the damage from a massive earthquake that struck off the northern coast, causing a small tsunami, but the impact appeared to be mostly limited. The 8.2 magnitude quake that shook northern Chile on Tuesday killed six people and triggered a tsunami with 2-meter (7-foot) waves. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the powerful temblor struck 82 miles (132 km) south of David, Panama; 111 miles (178 km) WSW of Santiago, Panama; 144 miles (232 km) south of Bocas del Toro, Panama; and, 223 miles (359 km) SSE of San Jose, Costa Rica.

An official from Panama's emergency services told Reuters items sold on grocery stores had fallen off shelves in parts of Chiriqui. No immediate reports of serious damage or casualties were heard in the area.

Portal earthquake.com, citing Panama TV, said many walls had collapsed in the western part of the country. A water pipe likewise broke in San Cristobal which flooded a number of houses. In Chiriqui, the facade from the National Bank of Panama was damaged.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu said the earthquake does not pose a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami. There is likewise no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

The U.S. Geological Survey urged residents to remain alert and calm for expected aftershocks which are usually less violent than the main quake. However, these can be strong enough to do additional damage to weak structures. Aftershocks can occur immediately in the first hours after the quake.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado / )
A view of a damaged road to Alto Hospicio commune after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique April 2, 2014. Chilean authorities on Wednesday were assessing the damage from a massive earthquake that struck off the northern coast, causing a small tsunami, but the impact appeared to be mostly limited. The 8.2 magnitude quake that shook northern Chile on Tuesday killed six people and triggered a tsunami with 2-meter (7-foot) waves. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
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