Accidents & Disasters, Mexico

Two Dead, Houses Damaged and Power Lost as Earthquake Hits Mexico City

Two Dead, Houses Damaged and Power Lost as Earthquake Hits Mexico City
REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Close to a million homes and businesses were left without electricity, as an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 hit Mexico City on Friday. A military helicopter surveying the scene crashed, leaving two people dead.

Apart from Mexico City, the southern state of Oaxaca was also affected, leaving at least 50 homes damaged. Both have been recovering from damages from the earthquakes in September last year. According to the U.S. Geographical Survey, the earthquake had a depth of 15.3 miles (24.6 km) and occurred 90 miles (145 km) away from the Puerto Escondido resort, located along the Pacific coast in the southern state of Oaxaca. The national seismology service reported a total of 225 aftershocks following the high magnitude earthquake, and caused widespread panic among the people.

People in the state of Mexico City were alerted 72 seconds before the quake hit, giving them time to flee to open areas, according to Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera. A helicopter was deployed to survey the extent of the damage, but sustained damage during the journey. On-board were two senior officials, Mexico’s interior minister and the governor of Oaxaca, who survived a crash as the helicopter tried to land. Unfortunately, at least two people died while the chopper tried to do so, officials said.

According to authorities, no deaths have been reported so far that were caused by the earthquake. One ground floor resident, heard the seismic alarm and rushed out before the quake occurred. The resident was Patricia Gutierrez, who’s a 66-year old English teacher, and she was with Juliet, her 11-month old granddaughter. She describes seeing fear in her granddaughter’s eyes when she recognized the sound and didn’t say anything out of shock. Patricia said she left all of her belongings inside, as she rushed out with her shoes and the baby.

A church, a government building and around 50 homes were left damaged in Jamiltepec, a town in the state of Oaxaca. According to the state’s civil protection agency, the town was the most impacted region to be affected by the quake, as patients were evacuated from there and another close town, Putla Villa de Guerrero. Two electric cables collided because of the shocks, which ignited a fire on a local highway.

Close to the epicenter of the quake was the town of Pinotepa Nacional, where a part of a single-story building had collapsed, with bricks blocking the street. A similar incident blocked a major highway and a hospital sustained damaged, as the state of Oaxaca suffered power outages that affected close to 100,000 people. Pemex, a national oil firm, was installing its biggest refinery 240 miles (386 km) away from the epicenter of the quake.


Meanwhile, in Mexico City, buildings swayed for minutes and old ones collided and caused cracks to appear on the walls. According to a 64-year old retiree, Guadalupe Martinez, who was still shaking from the shock, who said this earthquake was strong, but did not have as many ups and downs as the previous one that occurred back in September.

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