Quake of 6.1 magnitude in Panama injures one, no initial reports of deaths

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - A 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled homes in southwest Panama on Sunday near the border with Costa Rica, damaging buildings and injuring at least one person, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities, authorities said.

The quake struck some 4 miles (7 km) southeast of Plaza de Caisan, Panama, at a depth of 23 miles (37 km), 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.

The USGS later pinpointed the epicenter of the quake as a few miles (km) north of Canoas in Costa Rica, right on the border with Panama. Local emergency services in 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.

Reporting by Lisa Shumaker, Dave Graham, Rosalba O’Brien and Alvaro Murillo; Editing by Peter Cooney and Will Dunham