A 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled homes in southwest Panama on Sunday near the border with Costa Rica, damaging buildings and injuring at least two people, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities, authorities said. The quake struck some 4 miles southeast of Plaza de Caisán, Panama, at a depth of about 12 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported.
Panamanian authorities said there was no tsunami alert from the quake. Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela said on Twitter that some shops and houses were damaged and that a woman was injured in the Panamanian port of Puerto Armuelles when the quake caused the ceiling of her home to cave in.
Puerto Armuelles is near the epicenter of the quake. A local police spokeswoman said some buildings were damaged, but there were no initial reports of fatalities.
Images posted on social media showed simple wooden homes that partially collapsed in rural areas, deep fissures in tightly packed beach sand and entire grocery store shelves that spilled containers of processed food and bottled beverages on the floor.
“I was in the supermarket and everything swayed,” Carla Chavez said by phone from David, the capital of Panama’s Chiriqui province near the quake’s epicenter. “Merchandise fell on the floor. Everything happened so fast.”
Panama’s National Civil Protection Service said via Twitter that walls cracked at a hospital and two supermarkets in Changuinola in Bocas del Toro province.
The USGS later pinpointed the epicenter of the quake as a few miles north of Paso Canoas in Costa Rica, right on the border with Panama. Local emergency services in Paso Canoas said they had no initial reports of damage or fatalities there.
Panama’s firefighting association said on Twitter it had received reports of the ground shaking from residents in different regions of the country, and urged calm.