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Mexican Quake Death Toll Rises to 61

  • VOA News

Buildings destroyed by an earthquake that struck off the southern coast of Mexico late on Thursday are seen on a street in Juchitan, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.

Rescue efforts are continuing Saturday in southern Mexico after a massive earthquake struck the region late Thursday, killing at least 61 people.

Authorities in the town of Oaxaca say the death toll likely will continue to rise.

Patients and family members are seen outside the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) after an earthquake struck off the southern coast of Mexico late Thursday, in Puebla, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.
Patients and family members are seen outside the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) after an earthquake struck off the southern coast of Mexico late Thursday, in Puebla, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Friday the earthquake was bigger than a 1985 earthquake in the country that killed thousands. In a televised address Friday evening, he declared three days of national mourning and promised that the government will help rebuild.

“The power of this earthquake was devastating,” Pena Nieto said, but added that Mexico’s response “will be greater.”

Soldiers remove debris from a partly collapsed municipal building felled by a massive earthquake in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.
Soldiers remove debris from a partly collapsed municipal building felled by a massive earthquake in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.

The powerful 8.2-magnitude quake struck off Mexico’s far southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday, about 100 kilometers from the town of Tonala. It was the biggest quake the country has experienced in more than 100 years, Mexico’s president said.

The earthquake triggered a 1-meter-high tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but there were no immediate reports of tsunami damage.

People gather on a street after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.
People gather on a street after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico, Sept. 8, 2017.

The quake was felt as far away as Mexico City and Guatemala City. Residents of the Mexican capital fled into the streets, many in their pajamas, for fear buildings would collapse.

“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do,” said Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, who was visiting Mexico City. “I nearly fell over.”

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