Mexico Guatemala Earthquake
A building damaged by an earthquake in Guatemala. Twitter/@CBMDEPTAL

At least three people have died in a powerful earthquake that hit a wide area of southwestern Mexico and Central America.

The magnitude-6.9 tremor struck at 6:23am local time on the Pacific Coast near the Mexican town of Tapachula, a few kilometres north of the Guatemala border, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

USGS tweeted:

Guatemala authorities said two people were killed and dozens of houses were damaged in the San Marcos region.

"This quake was pretty strong. There are houses destroyed," San Marcos governor Luis Rivera said.

Raul Hernandez, a spokesman for the local fire department, said the two victims died in their homes in the town of Pati, as the walls collapsed.

Hernandez said that at least 30 buildings had been damaged by the quake, which also caused landslides and toppled utility poles. Power outages were reported in some areas of the region.

Photos of damaged buildings were posted by local firefighters on twitter:

Centred 37 miles (60 kilometers) below the surface, the tremor also caused damage in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Chiapas' civil defence office tweeted that one man was killed by a collapsed wall in the town of Huixtla.

"Buildings were moving, windows broke in some houses and businesses, and people ran through the streets in the dark," said Tapachula resident Omar Santos.

The Red Cross said they were treating a number of adults and children who suffered a shock or were left frightened by the earthquake.

"I thought the house was going to collapse," said Claudia Gonzales, a 32-year old from the town of Comitan.

The tremor was felt also hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre across a broad swathe of southern Mexico, up to the capital Mexico City.