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earthquake-GRAPHIC-8-14-15

7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Mexico’s Capital, Buildings Sway on Anniversary of 1985 Quake

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UPDATE: At least 149 people are dead

A powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly in the capital on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage.

National Civil Protection chief Luis Felipe Puente tweeted that there were no reports of damage so far, but thousands of people fled office buildings along the central Reforma Avenue as alarms blared, and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City.

Puebla Gov. Tony Galil tweeted that there had been damaged buildings in the city of Cholula including collapsed church steeples.

In Mexico City pictures fell from walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over. Some people dove for cover under desks.

Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

In the Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 1985 quake, piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets. Two men calmed a woman seated on a stool in the street, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee.

At a nearby market, a worker in a hardhat walked around the outside warning people not to smoke as a smell of gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, said she was in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to locate her children, whom she had left in the care of her disabled mother.

The Tuesday quake occurred just 11 days after an 8.4 magnitude quake shook Mexico’s southern coast. That devastating earthquake left 90 people dead. It was the most powerful to hit the country in a century and was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City by an estimated 50 million people.

Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil is known to amplify the effects of earthquakes even hundreds of miles away.

The Associated Press
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TV station shakes during as earthquake occurs during live broadcast.

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