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Earthquake in Caribbean kills at least one

/ Source: The Associated Press

A strong, early morning earthquake rocked the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe on Sunday, killing at least one man and destroying more than a half dozen homes.

A man died in Guadeloupe when his home collapsed in the southern coastal town of Trois-Rivieres, private Radio Caraibes reported. A woman and two children were able to escape from the home with minor injuries. One of the children was hospitalized.

The temblor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, said John Minsch, a seismologist at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Service. The initial quake was followed by several tremors, including two with a 4.9 magnitude. Its epicenter was about 28 miles north-northwest of Dominica, near the Guadeloupe archipelago of Les Saintes.

At least eight homes were destroyed and 25 others were damaged in Terre-de-Bas, one of the islands in the chain, which is some 12.5 miles off the French overseas department's southern coast, Radio Caraibes reported.

In Dominica, several homes and buildings were damaged in the northern part of the former British colony, including three churches, national disaster coordinator Cecil Shillingford said.

No injuries were reported in Dominica, Shillingford said. A complete damage assessment was not available because heavy rains and flooding prevented authorities from reaching many areas in the north, he said.

Dominica's main airport was temporarily closed because of the flooding, authorities said.

The facade of a Roman Catholic church collapsed in Portsmouth, 26 miles north of the capital, Roseau, said Ian Douglas, a parliamentary representative from the area.

There was nobody in the church at the time. Sunday services were previously canceled because Catholics in Dominica were celebrating a special feast in the southern part of the country.

Portsmouth's hospital also suffered damage and patients were evacuated to a nearby building, Douglas told state-run Dominica Broadcasting Corp.

The earthquake lasted several seconds and was felt as far away as Antigua and Barbuda, some 125 miles north of the epicenter. No damage was reported there.