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Massive 8.2 magnitude quake leaves several dead in Mexico

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  • Fri, 09/08/2017 - 08:31
Massive 8.2 magnitude quake leaves at least 26 dead in Mexico
  • EFE

A massive earthquake that struck off the Pacific coast of Mexico overnight has killed at least 32 people, including two children, the national civil protection coordinator confirmed on Friday.

Speaking to broadcaster Televisa, Luis Felipe Puente said the number of wounded was still being calculated and that many people were trapped under rubble, but official data would not be available yet.

The quake, which reached 8.2 on the Richter scale, hit the southern Mexican state of Chiapas Thursday night, where at least three died after a house collapsed in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, Governor Manuel Velasco earlier confirmed.

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, speaking from the national disaster prevention center, downgraded the magnitude from 8.4 to 8.2, adding that the earthquake was nonetheless "the strongest ever measured in our country in the last 100 years." 

He declared a state of emergency in Chiapas and, in a televised statement, warned that the temblor could be followed by violent aftershocks.

Meanwhile, Governor of Tabasco Arturo Nuñez confirmed the death of two children in the state, while Oaxaca governor Alexandro Murat reported many injured after a hotel collapsed in the Istmo area of Tehuantepec.

The quake struck at a depth of 33 kilometers (21 miles) with an epicenter 119 kilometers south-west of Tres Picos, in southern Mexico.

According to the Mexican national weather bureau (SSN), the earthquake occurred at 11:49 pm Thursday and was originally recorded as magnitude 8.1.

Strong tremors were felt in almost half the country, from the center to the south, as well as in other neighboring Central American countries.

Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong had earlier told Televisa news that Chiapas was the worst affected.

Chong added that so far 12 aftershocks had been felt, the strongest one being of magnitude 6.1.

On the tsunami alert, the Secretariat of the Navy has estimated waves of up to 3-4 meters (10-13 feet).

Peña Nieto activated civil protection protocols, including the national emergency committee.

The quake had led to power cuts in Mexico City and its tremors were also felt strongly in Guatemala, according to the United States Geological Service.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued an alert for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, and Ecuador.

The quake comes a few days before the anniversary of the earthquake of Sept. 19, 1985, which had left thousands dead in Mexico City. 

That 8.1-magnitude earthquake was followed by devastating aftershocks that notched higher than 7 of the Richter scale, Peña Nieto pointed out.

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