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Mexico earthquake: Dramatic videos show buildings collapsing, people fleeing

Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states.

world Updated: Sep 20, 2017 12:12 IST
AP, Mexico City
Mexico earthquake,Mexico,Earthquake
Search and rescue operations are carried out at the site of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Condesa, Mexico City.(Reuters Photo)

Videos circulating on social media reportedly show the powerful earthquake that shook central Mexico on Tuesday. They show buildings collapsing in plumes of dust, thousands fleeing into the streets in panic and many staying to help rescue those trapped as the 7.1-magnitude quake killed at least 149.

Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly.

Hours after the magnitude 7.1 quake, rescue workers were still clawing through the wreckage of a primary school that partly collapsed in the city’s south looking for any children who might be trapped. Some relatives said they had received Whatsapp message from two girls inside.

The federal government declared a state of disaster in Mexico City, freeing up emergency funds. President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had ordered all hospitals to open their doors to the injured.

At one site, reporters saw onlookers cheer as a woman was pulled from the rubble. Rescuers immediately called for silence so they could listen for others who might be trapped.

Mariana Morales, a 26-year-old nutritionist, was one of many who spontaneously participated in rescue efforts.

She wore a paper face mask and her hands were still dusty from having joined a rescue brigade to clear rubble from a building that fell in a cloud of dust before her eyes, about 15 minutes after the quake.

Morales said she was in a taxi when the quake struck, and she got out and sat on a sidewalk to try to recover from the scare. Then, just a few yards away, the three-story building fell.

The quake 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 US Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake hit at 1:14pm (2:15pm EDT) and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

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

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

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 08:41 IST