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Tsunami warning issued following earthquake off Cuba, Jamaica

HAVANA — The U.S. Geological Survey says a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica earlier today, triggering a tsunami warning.

It was centred 139 kilometres (86 miles) northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 140 kilometres (87 miles) west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba. It hit at 2:10 p.m. (1910 GMT) and the epicenter was a relatively shallow 10 kilometres (6 miles) beneath the surface.

Though there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, a tsunami warning was issued by the International Tsunami Information Center for waves of up to one metre for the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Witnesses say the quake could be felt strongly in Santiago, the largest far-eastern Cuban city. The quake also hit the Cayman Islands, leaving cracked roads and what appeared to be sewage spilling from cracked mains. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or more severe damage, said Kevin Morales, editor-in-chief of the Cayman Compass newspaper.

The islands see so few earthquakes that newsroom staff were puzzled when it hit, he said.

“It was just like a big dump truck was rolling past,” Morales said. “Then it continued and got more intense.”

With file from The Associated Press