Mexico Earthquake Strongest in 100 Years; State of Emergency Declared as Death Toll Reaches 58
Twenty-three of the confirmed fatalities were in the state of Oaxaca, according to its governor. Seventeen of those deaths occurred in the town of Juchitan.
Seven people were killed in the state of Chiapas, where a state of emergency has been declared, according to a spokesman for emergency services cited by Reuters.
Two children were killed in neighboring Tabasco state, according to its governor. One was crushed by a collapsing wall, while the other – an infant on a respirator – died after the quake triggered a power outage in the hospital.
The epicenter of the quake was at a depth of 33 km (21 miles), 123 km (76 miles) southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, not far from the Guatemalan border.
— Hurricane Info (@HurricaneData) September 8, 2017
The quake was registered in local calculations as having a magnitude of 8.2, making it the largest to hit Mexico in 100 years.
“It was a major earthquake in scale and magnitude, the strongest in the past 100 years,” President Peña Nieto said in an address from the National Disaster Prevention Centre’s headquarters, where he was supervising the emergency response.
The US Geological Survey reported the quake’s magnitude at 8.1.
Peña Nieto said the quake was felt by 50 million of the country’s 120 million residents, and was also felt in much of Guatemala, which borders Chiapas.
Waves of more than 3.3 feet (1 meter) were measured off Salina Cruz, Mexico, following the quake, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Smaller waves were observed in several other locations.
Peña Nieto has warned that more aftershocks are likely, and has urged people to check their homes and offices for structural damage and gas leaks.
Officials have ordered schools in 11 states to remain closed on Friday, including in Mexico City, so officials can inspect for structural damage.
Mexico sits atop five tectonic plates, with their movement making it one of the most seismically-active countries in the world.
The most destructive earthquake to hit the country to date was in 1985, when an 8.1 magnitude quake killed more than 10,000 people in the capital, Mexico City.