Powerful Quake Hits Mexico
A powerful earthquake hit the southern coast of Mexico, killing at least 61 people and injuring 200.
The magnitude 8.1 quake rattled the Latin American nation Thursday and was felt by about 50 million people across the country.
According to official reports, the epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the capital and 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast.
Two Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca were badly hit by the tremor. Most of the human casualties were reported in these areas. In Chiapas, at least 10 people were killed and 45 were killed in Oaxaca state.
The earthquake occurred when many people were asleep. The quake toppled buildings and created panic among Mexican communities.
Rescue Efforts Underway
The government launched a massive search and rescue operation especially in the badly hit areas. Mexico’s army, marines and federal police were mobilized to respond.
Emergency workers and volunteers also looked for survivors or bodies in the rubble of houses, hotel, churches and schools that were torn apart by the deadly quake.
Tens of thousands of emergency packs, as well as 100 extra police officers and rescue dogs were delivered to Juchitán, Oaxaca, said to be the worst-hit town.
Local authorities are also helping people who fled their residences and left their medications behind.
Most Powerful Earthquake in the Century
The quake is considered the strongest Mexico has experienced in 100 years. It was so powerful that it was felt as far away as Mexico City and Guatemala City. In fact, it was stronger even than the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people in Mexico City.
The destruction is undeniable.
For badly hit areas like in Juchitán, Oaxaca, the huge quake toppled buildings and concrete houses.
“The situation is Juchitán is critical; this is the most terrible moment in its history,” said Mayor Gloria Sanchez.
Police officer Vidal Vera, 29, a member of the response team, said, “I can’t remember an earthquake this terrible. The whole city is a disaster zone right now. Lots of damage. Lots of deaths.”