Juchitan De Zaragota, Mexico. Sept 9th: At least 61 people are confirmed dead in Mexico’s most powerful earthquake in a century, the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck 20 miles under the Pacific off the southern coast of Mexico, about 100 kilometers off the town of Tonala in Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala late thursday. Emergency workers looked for survivors or bodies in the rubble of houses, churches and schools that were torn apart in the In the southern region hit hardest by the quake.
Pope Francis, at an open air mass on a visit to Colombia, said he was praying “for those who have lost their lives and their families” in the disaster.
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the hardest-hit city, Juchitan in Oaxaca, where at least 36 bodies were pulled from the ruins.
He said 45 people were killed in Oaxaca, 12 in Chiapas and four in Tabasco. But the actual death toll could be over 80, according to figures reported by state officials. Adding to the concerns, authorities warned another massive aftershock could follow within 24 hours of the first quake.
A hotel collapsed and many homes were badly damaged in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, the predominantly indigenous town of 100,000 people, which is tucked into the lush green southern mountains near the coast.
In Tabasco, two children were among the dead. One was crushed by a collapsing wall. Another, an infant on a respirator, died after the quake triggered a power outage.
More than 200 people were injured across Mexico, officials said. Four people were also injured in neighboring Guatemala, where President Jimmy Morales flew over affected areas and ordered urgent humanitarian assistance.
Photo: Sensacion hotel which collapsed with the powerful earthquake that struck Mexico, in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State
Mexico’s seismology service estimated it at 8.2 magnitude while the US Geological Survey put it at 8.1, the same as in 1985, the quake-prone country’s most destructive ever. The quake was felt as far north as Mexico City — some 800 kilometers from the epicenter, where people fled their homes, many in their pajamas, after hearing sirens go off.
Officials initially issued a tsunami alert, but later lifted it. However, the quake triggered waves that reached as far as New Zealand, more than 11,000 kilometers away. Authorities said small tsunami waves of up to 40 centimeters were recorded on the far-flung Chatham Islands, with 25 centimeter surges on the New Zealand coast, some 15 hours after the quake.
Mexico sits atop five tectonic plates, making it prone to earthquakes, and has two long coastlines that are frequently battered by hurricanes.
8.2 Earthquake Hits Mexico Trigering Tsunami Warning For Several Countries
Mexico City, Mexico. Sept. 8th: A powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake has struck 20 miles under the Pacific off the southern coast of Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, reportedly killing at least three and triggering a tsunami warning for several countries. The temblor, occurred off the coast of Chiapas about 10 minutes before midnight local time, NOAA’s National Weather Service said Friday.
A tsunami warning has been issued for Mexico, where a wave as large as 0.7 meters in height has already been confirmed. Also at risk, but from less hazardous waves, are Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras. The shock from the temblor was felt in Mexico City, where tremors rattled buildings for up to a mintue, the BBC reported.
At least two people have died in the state of Chiapas, said the Mexican interior minister. There is currently no tsunami threat to Hawaii, Guam or American Samoa, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on Twitter.
At least three people were reported killed in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, government officials said. In Tabasco state, two children were left dead, one a baby who died in hospital after the power went out.
Meanwhile, U.S. forecasters said “hazardous” tsunami waves of more than nine feet above the tide level were possible along the Mexican coast. Waves of around three feet have already been observed, they said.
They also predicted that tsunamis of up to three feet could hit as far away as American Samoa, New Zealand and Antarctica. Later, they updated the warning to say there was no threat to American Samoa, Hawaii and Guam. There are tsunami warnings in place for Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.
The tremors were so severe that people in Mexico City, over 500 miles away, fled shaking buildings in their pajamas.
Witnesses in Mexico City described the ground shaking for a full 45 seconds.
Photo: Patients and Doctors wait outside a hospital after the earthquake
Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the capital since a devastating 1985 tremor that flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands.
There were no immediate reports of major damage in the capital but windows were broken at the airport and power went out in several major neighborhoods. At least five aftershocks were reported. The quake knocked out power throughout southern Mexico.
Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco told reporters that the roofs of homes and a shopping center had collapsed in San Cristobal.
“There are damages in hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected.”