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In pics: Despair, shock, scramble for survivors after Mexico earthquake

The media in Mexico reported that families were getting WhatsApp messages pleading for help from desperate relatives trapped under the debris.

world Updated: Sep 21, 2017 08:55 IST
A woman reacts after the earthquake hit Mexico City.
A woman reacts after the earthquake hit Mexico City.(REUTERS)

Nearly 150 people were killed when a powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, toppling buildings in the capital and sowing panic on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City. When the earthquake hit, it sent panicked people running into the street but many weren’t so lucky. (AFP)
People work at a collapsed building after the earthquake. After the jolt, the dust settled minutes later to reveal a landscape of flattened buildings and rubble in the heart of Mexico City. (REUTERS)
Women carrying their dogs stand outside their homes. After the screams and the shock, people quickly set to work digging for survivors. (REUTERS)
Mexican policemen run towards the site where a building collapsed after the powerful quake. “Awful. I think it was one of the strongest we’ve felt. I don’t know what magnitude, but it was awful,” said Pedro Cruz Martinez, a public servant cradling his little girl, after joining the rush of fearful parents to a local school. (AFP)
In a scene reproduced in streets across the city centre, dozens of people scrabbled with bare hands to remove rubble from atop buildings as they waited for specialized machinery to arrive. (AFP)
Central areas like Roma, Condesa and Doctores appeared to have taken the brunt of the 7.1-magnitude quake. (REUTERS)
Soldiers stand guard near a collapsed building after the quake. The city’s international airport closed for more than three hours following the quake, and the stock market was forced to shut down. (REUTERS)
The Jojutla Municipal Palace stands heavily damaged after the 7.1 earthquake, in Jojutla, Morelos state. Mexico is prone to earthquakes, being located in a seismically active region. Its last major quake, on September 7, killed 96 people in the southern part of the country. (AP)
Many people lay on stretchers, medics holding strips of cardboard boxes over victims’ heads to protect them from the sun in Mexico City. Several buildings were completely flattened in Roma, popular for its bars and restaurants and one of the neighbourhoods hit hardest by the 1985 earthquake that shattered large swathes of this city and killed at least 10,000 -- 32 years ago to the day. (REUTERS)
A damaged taxi is seen next to a collapsed building after the earthquake. Local media reported around 30 collapsed buildings in Mexico City with at least four confirmed deaths in the capital, as the overall toll including surrounding areas reached 149, amid fears it could rise further. (REUTERS)
Authorities asked for help from volunteers and for water. Some police officers came through the crowd carrying containers of water. In several locations, people were seen clambering on buildings that were now piles of stone and tangled metal to pull people out. (AFP)
Medics set up makeshift field hospitals in the streets, treating people for broken limbs and crush injuries. Emergency officials warned people in the streets to avoid smoking because of the risk of igniting gas leaking from ruptured pipes. (AFP)
Scenes of chaos permeated the city straight after the earth shuddered. Traffic jammed to a standstill before blanked-out stop lights, and anxious people ran between vehicles as ambulances tried to make headway, sirens squealing. (AFP)
Police called for calm and cordoned off streets with grotesquely twisted buildings, their reinforcing steel poking out from concrete. The quake -- which occurred in the early afternoon, hours after city authorities had conducted an earthquake drill -- caused damage in the bustling centre of the city, and to areas south and west of the capital. (AFP)
People hugged and comforted each other amid anxiety about loved ones. Many stood around in a daze, not sure where to go or what to do. But everyone was staying in the streets, afraid to go home. (REUTERS)
The toll could rise further. Rescue crews and volunteers in Mexico City -- home to 20 million people -- were clawing through the rubble of at least 49 collapsed buildings looking for survivors and bodies. (AFP)
Ambulances and rescue workers help next to a collapsed building in the Del Valle neighbourhood in Mexico City. Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Neto, said on Twitter he had ordered the evacuation of damaged hospitals “and the transfer of their patients to other medical facilities.” (AP)
Officials in other countries began to react to the disaster, with many offering to help. US President Donald Trump, who has forged an antagonistic relationship with Mexico since coming to office, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.” (AFP)
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, tweeted: “Devastating news from Mexico City. My thoughts are with those affected by today’s earthquake - Canada will be ready to help our friends.” (AFP)