Massive quake hits Mexico on ‘cursed’ quake anniversary, at least one dead

MEXICO CITY, Sept 19 (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck western Mexico on Monday on the anniversary of two devastating earthquakes, killing at least one person, damaging buildings and cutting power, Residents of Mexico City fled outside seeking safety.

A wall collapsed at a store in the Pacific port of Manzanillo, killing one person, President Andres Manuel López Obrador said in a video address. Authorities also reported damage to two hospitals in the western state of Michoacán near the epicenter, which is in a sparsely populated area of ​​Mexico.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the 7.6-magnitude quake struck shortly after 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) near the west coast, near the border between Michoacán and Colima — Manzanillo where it is.

Sign up now for free unlimited access to

The quake was relatively shallow, only 15 kilometers (9 miles) deep, which would have amplified its impact.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for parts of the Mexican coast, saying waves could reach 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) above tide level.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there was no immediate report of major damage to the capital after the earthquake, which swept through Mexico on the same day that devastating earthquakes hit the country in 1985 and 2017.

“It seemed like a curse,” Issa Montes, a 34-year-old graphic designer in the city’s central Roman neighborhood, said of the timing of the quake as helicopters flew overhead to tour the city.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the country’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, said there was no scientific explanation for the three major earthquakes that occurred on the same day, and blamed it on pure coincidence.

But others are less convinced.

“It’s the date. There’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in the city’s Cuauhtemoc district. “The 19th is a terrible day.”

Thousands died in September. The January 19, 1985 earthquake killed more than 350 people in the September earthquake. Earthquake on September 19, 2017.

Before announcing Manzanillo’s death, Lopez Obrador had said there was material damage near the epicenter. Pictures posted on social media showed the building being badly damaged.

Authorities in Mexico said earthquake sirens sounded nearly two minutes before the quake, giving residents time to evacuate their homes.

Still, some in the capital struggled to understand that it was a real earthquake, as the government had raised the alarm earlier in the day as a practice event to commemorate past earthquakes on the same day.

power outage

In Caulcorman, Michoacán, not far from the epicentre, photos showed shingles toppling over houses and walls of buildings cracked by the force of the quake. In a store, merchandise is scattered on the floor.

Power was lost in parts of Mexico City’s Roma, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the epicenter. The state power company said the outage affected 1.2 million customers.

Roman residents stood on the street with pets, while tourists with guided tours of local markets were visibly confused and disturbed. Traffic lights stopped working and people grabbed their phones, texting or waiting for a call to connect.

Clara Ferri, who owns an Italian bookstore in Rome, said she told a customer to get out as soon as she heard the window rattle, and after 16 years at the place, her senses had gotten used to the early days. Earthquake sound.

“It’s like a dentist’s drill to me,” she said.

The rumble grew louder, and as Ferry and her neighbors gathered at an intersection, she looked up to see the eight-story building where her store was located sway from side to side.

When she returned, the bookshelves collapsed like dominoes, and more than 1,000 books were piled up on the floor.

Officials corded off the sidewalk, which was littered with masonry that appeared to fall from the building. Residents came out with pets and suitcases ready to spend the night elsewhere, carefully escorted by an 89-year-old uncle in blue and white striped pajamas.

Sign up now for free unlimited access to

Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Anthony Esposito, Raul Cortes and Mexico City newsroom; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Stephen Eisenhamer, Sandra Mahler and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link