Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Strong magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocks Mexico, citizens horrified

Published:Saturday | September 23, 2017 | 1:15 PM
A Mexican rescue worker and search dog resume their work on the site of a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood, after evacuating the area due to an aftershocks, in Mexico City, on Saturday. A strong aftershock rolled through Mexico City, Saturday morning, swaying buildings and sending some people running into the street. - AP

MEXICO CITY (AP):
A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, toppling already damaged homes and a highway bridge and causing new alarm in a country reeling from two even more powerful quakes this month that together have killed nearly 400 people.

The US Geological Survey said the new, magnitude 6.1 temblor was centred about 11 miles (18 kilometres) south-southeast of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca, which was the region most battered by a magnitude 8.1 quake on September 7.

It was among thousands of aftershocks recorded in the wake of that earlier quake, which was the most powerful to hit Mexico in 32 years and killed at least 90 people.

There was some damage in Oaxaca but no immediate reports of new deaths. The Federal Police agency posted images online showing a collapsed bridge that it said had already been closed due to damage after the September 7 quake.

Ettina Cruz, a resident of Juchitan, Oaxaca, said by phone with her voice still shaking that the new quake felt "horrible."

"Homes that were still standing just fell down," Cruz said. "It's hard. We are all in the streets."

Cruz belongs to a social collective and said that when the shaking began, she was riding in a truck carrying supplies to victims of the earlier quake.

Nataniel Hernandez said by phone from Tonala, in the southern state of Chiapas, which was also hit hard by the earlier quake, that it was one of the strongest aftershocks he has felt.

"Since September 7 it has not stopped shaking," Hernandez.

US Geological Survey geophysicist Paul Caruso said the new temblor was an aftershock of the 8.1 quake, and after a jolt of that size even buildings left standing can be more vulnerable.

"So a smaller earthquake can cause the damaged buildings to fail," Caruso said.

"At the moment the greatest damage has been to the Ixtaltepec bridge, which should be rebuilt, and structures with previous damage that collapsed," President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted. He said government workers were fanning out in Juchitan to provide help to anyone who needs it.

Jaime Hernandez, director of the Federal Electrical Commission, said the quake knocked out power to 327,000 homes and businesses in Oaxaca but service had been restored to 72 percent of customers within a few hours.

Buildings swayed in Mexico City, where nerves are still raw from Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 temblor that has killed at least 305 across the region. Many residents and visitors fled homes, hotels and businesses, some in tears.