Mexico devastated by another major earthquake, 2nd in two weeks

Mexico devastated by another major earthquake, 2nd in two weeks

MEXICO CITY — Buildings collapsed in plumes of dust as a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook central Mexico, resulting in at least 200 fatalities and severely damaging infrastructure in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone.

The quake is the deadliest in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake left 90 dead in the country’s south.

The quake caused buildings to sway in Mexico City and sent people throughout the city fleeing from homes and offices, and many people remained in the streets for hours, fearful of returning to the structures.

Alarms blared and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument on the iconic Reforma Avenue. Electricity and cellphone service was interrupted in many areas and traffic was snarled as signal lights went dark.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 hit at 1:14 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT) and was centred near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometres southeast of Mexico City.

Earlier in the day workplaces across the city held readiness drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake, a magnitude 8.0 shake, which killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of Mexico City.

Mexico City’s international airport briefly suspended operations and was checking facilities for any damage. The airport has now reopened but there are many flight cancellations.

Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil can amplify the effects of earthquakes centred hundreds of miles away.

The new quake appeared to be unrelated to the magnitude 8.1 temblor that hit Sept. 7 off Mexico’s southern coast and also was felt strongly in the capital.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle noted that the epicentres of the two quakes were 650 kilometres apart and most aftershocks are within 100 kilometres.

Initial calculations show that more than 30 million people would have felt moderate shaking from Tuesday’s quake. The US Geological Survey predicts “significant casualty and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”

 

With files from The Associated Press