Earthquake swarm hits El Salvador, damaging homes

SAN SALVADOR, (Reuters) – More than 700 slight to  moderate earthquakes hit an area in eastern El Salvador in a  24-hour period, damaging dozens of homes but hurting no one.
The brief quakes, which started Thursday and ranged from  1.8 to 4.6 in magnitude, have occurred in the municipality of  El Carmen, some 163 km (101 miles) east of the capital of San  Salvador, the country’s National Territory agency said.
Jorge Melendez, in charge of civil protection, said on  Friday that 80 homes were damaged by the tremors, known as an  earthquake swarm. A hospital in the area showed cracks on the  walls but no structural damage so far, he said.
Army troops were sent in to monitor the damaged areas.  While authorities have not ordered evacuations yet, many  residents of El Carmen chose to sleep in the open and the army  was handing out tents.
El Salvador suffered two powerful earthquakes ten  years ago: one of 7.6 magnitude in January 2001 and another of  6.6 magnitude a month later. The quakes killed more than 1,150  people and left about one million others homeless.

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