8.1 Magnitude Earthquake hits Mexico

8.1 Magnitude Earthquake hits Mexico

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An earthquake described by Mexico’s president as the country’s strongest in a century has struck off the southern coast, killing at least six people.

One person also died in neighbouring Guatemala, its president has said.

The quake, measured at 8.1 by the US Geological Survey but higher by Mexico, struck in the Pacific, about 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan.

A tsunami warning has been issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.

The quake was felt in Mexico City, with buildings swaying and people running into the street. The tremors there, about 1,000km from the epicentre, were reported to have lasted up to a minute.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said some 50 million Mexicans would have felt the tremor and that the death toll might rise.

Four deaths were reported in Mexico’s Chiapas state, near the epicentre, and two more in Tabasco state.

Severe damage was reported in southern Mexico and in western Guatemala.

Social media images showed collapsed buildings in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, including in the city of the same name and in Juchitan, where the municipal palace was levelled.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that tsunami waves “reaching more than three metres above the tide level are possible along the coasts of Mexico”. There is a coastal evacuation in Chiapas state.

The quake struck at a depth of 70km, the USGS said.

At magnitude 8.1, the quake outstrips the deadly 1985 tremor that hit close to Mexico City and caused thousands of deaths.

BBC

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