SAN VICENTE, El Salvador -- This small Salvadoran city was lucky last month. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake that completely buried a neighborhood under a massive landslide left its clusters of humble adobe homes untouched.
But San Vicente's luck turned deadly Tuesday, when a powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake flattened hundreds of homes, burying 13 people and injuring more than 500, including children and the elderly.
"My house just came tumbling down," said 80-year-old Maria Aguilar, her eyes filled with tears at the town's central hospital. "Part of a wall collapsed on top of me, but my grandchildren rescued me quickly."
Tuesday's quake, centered in several provinces east of the capital, San Salvador, killed at least 174 people, mostly from collapses homes, said the National Emergency Committee. At least 1,557 people were injured.
Among the victims were six kindergarten students and their 25-year-old teacher, killed when their parochial school collapsed in the small town of Candelaria, 25 miles east of the capital, San Salvador. The teacher, Anabel Chavez, was found with her arms wrapped around some of the children.
"The church and the school are literally flat on the ground," said Oswald Guerra, deputy commissioner of the national civil police. He said another 40 children received leg and arm injuries.
President Francisco Flores took a helicopter tour to assess the damage to the country of 6 million people.
Flores noted that the quake's impact on the affected towns "is greater than what happened on Jan. 13," the date of the 7.6-magnitude quake that officials say killed 844, injured 4,723 and destroyed 278,000 houses. Hundreds more remain missing and are believed dead.
Tuesday's quake compounded the misery of a nation struggles to cope.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the new quake was centered near the midpoint between San Vicente and San Salvador. The quake struck at 8:25 a.m.
Hardest hit were the provinces of San Vicente, Cuscatlan and La Paz, in the center, where at least 167 people were killed, the emergency committee said.
In Candelaria, at least 39 people were killed, 57 were injured and two were missing. A total of 1,300 houses were ruined.
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