According to the United States Geological Survey, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.1 has struck off Mexico’s southern coast, killing at least five people and has triggered tsunamis.
The earthquake struck near the towns of Tres Picos and Pijijiapan along the border with Guatemala. The quake was reportedly felt in the capital, Mexico City, and as far as 620 miles, or 1,000 kilometers, away from the epicenter, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said.
Alejandro Murat, the governor of Oaxaca, told the Televisa network that at least 23 people had died in the state, and local officials said there are residents buried under the rubble of buildings.
Luis Manuel García Moreno, the secretary of civil defense for the state of Chiapas, said the toll there had risen to seven, and two children died in the state of Tabasco, one when a wall collapsed on them, and another when electricity went out at a hospital where the infant was on a ventilator.
A Reuters witness has reported that people in Mexico City ran out into the streets after the quake struck.
“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over,” said Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, 31, who was visiting Mexico City.
Zhaira Franco, 35, who works for Facebook in social programming, told the New York Times that she “heard an alarm 30 seconds before the earthquake hit her building in Mexico City. The building shook so much it hit the adjacent building.”
The epicentre was 123 km (76 miles) southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 33 km (21 miles).
A tsunami has been confirmed in Mexico, with at least one wave coming in at 3 feet (1 meter), according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. Residents along the southern coast were earlier instructed to evacuate amid a tsunami warning that was been issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.
— NWS PTWC (@NWS_PTWC) September 8, 2017
Mexico’s civil protection agency says this was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.
Pena Nieto tweeted that the quake measured in at a record 8.2 and that he has activated the country’s National Security Committee. The USGS still says that it measured in at an 8.1. Nieto later added that 1 million customers were without power in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but that 200,000 remained without power early Friday.
Emergency responders searched for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Juchitan in Oaxaca.
In neighboring Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales spoke on national television to call for calm while emergency crews checked for damage. “We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don’t have exact details,” said Morales.
At least four aftershocks ranging from 5.2 to 5.7 in magnitude have been reported closer to the coast, near the town of Paredon.
This is a developing situation. Please check back as we will continue to provide updates on this page as we get them.