Mexico’s strongest quake in century strikes off southern coast

An earthquake described by Mexico’s president as the country’s strongest in a century has struck off the southern coast, killing at least 33 people.

The quake, which President Enrique Peña Nieto said measured 8.2, struck in the Pacific, about 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan.

Oaxaca and Chiapas states bore the brunt of the damage and dozens of aftershocks have been reported.

A tsunami warning was initially issued but later lifted.

The quake, which struck at 23:50 local time on Thursday (04:50 GMT Friday), was felt hundreds of miles away in Mexico City, with buildings swaying and people running into the street. The tremors there were reported to have lasted up to a minute.

President Peña Nieto said about 50 million Mexicans would have felt the tremor and that the death toll might rise.

Twenty-three people are reported dead in Mexico’s Oaxaca state, 17 of them in the town of Juchitán, state Governor Alejandro Murat said.

Another seven people were reported killed in Chiapas and two children died in Tabasco state, one a baby who died when power was cut to a respirator.

At least one person was killed in Guatemala, its president has said.

Social media images showed collapsed buildings in Oaxaca, including in the city of the same name, and in Juchitán, where the municipal palace and a number of other structures were destroyed or badly damaged.

Map
Damage to the municipal palace of Juchitán, Mexico, 8 September 2017

A hotel in Juchitán is reported to have collapsed and people there are trapped in the rubble of their homes, officials said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) had originally said that tsunami waves of more than 3m (9ft) were possible along the coasts of Mexico, with threats also facing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. It said later that waves only 0.7m high reached the Mexican coast.

Some coastal areas were evacuated as a precaution.

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