Strong earthquake hits Mexico on fateful anniversary, killing at least two

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck western Mexico on Monday on the anniversary of two devastating earthquakes, killing at least two people, damaging buildings, disrupting electricity and sending Mexico City residents out for safety.

Authorities said two people died in the Pacific port of Manzanillo, one of whom crashed into a department store front while another was found dead in a mall. Videos on social media showed the roof of the mall’s top floor, a gym, collapsed, as people shouted for help.

Authorities also reported damage to several hospitals in the western state of Michoacan near the epicenter, which was in a sparsely populated area of ​​Mexico. The government said one person was injured by falling glass in a hospital.

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The US Geological Survey said the quake struck shortly after 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) near the west coast of Mexico and close to Michoacan’s border with Colima state, where the main port of Manzanillo is located.

It was relatively shallow, at a depth of only 15 kilometers (9 miles), which would have amplified its impact.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas, saying that waves as high as 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) above tide level are possible.

Claudia Sheinbaum, Mayor of Mexico City, said there were no immediate reports of serious damage in the capital after the earthquake that struck Mexico on the same day devastating earthquakes struck the country in 1985 and 2017.

“It looks like a curse,” Issa Montes, 34, a graphic designer in the city’s downtown district of Rome, said of the timing of the quake, as helicopters hovered overhead.

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

But others didn’t quite believe it.

“It’s that date. There’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzeta, a business owner in the city’s Cuauhtemoc neighborhood. The nineteenth is a day to be feared.

Thousands were killed in the September 19, 1985 earthquake, and more than 350 were killed in the September 19, 2017 earthquake.

Many Mexicans have reacted to the recent earthquake by posting a bunch of memes online to vent their anxiety and find humor in the natural disaster. Read more

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also indicated that there was material damage near the epicenter. Pictures posted on social media showed severely damaged buildings.

Mexican authorities said the seismic warning was issued about two minutes before the quake struck, allowing residents time to evacuate.

However, some people in the capital struggled to understand that it was a real earthquake as the government had already sounded the alarm earlier in the day as a rehearsal to commemorate past earthquakes on the same day.

run out of energy

And in Colcumen, Michoacan, near the epicenter, images showed shingles flying off of houses and cracking walls of buildings with the force of the earthquake. In one of the stores, the goods were scattered on the floor.

Power was cut off in parts of the trendy neighborhood of Rome in Mexico City, 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the epicenter. The National Electric Power Company said the outages reached 1.2 million users.

Gypsies stood in the streets cuddling pets, while tourists visiting a local market with their guide were visibly confused and upset. Traffic lights have stopped working, people are holding on to their phones, sending text messages or waiting for calls.

Clara Ferri, who owns an Italian bookstore in Rome, said she asked a client to go outside as soon as she heard the rattle of windows, her senses chiming with the sounds of impending earthquakes after 16 years at the site.

“It was like a dentist’s exercise for me,” she said.

The roar intensified, and when Ferry met the neighbors at an intersection, she looked up to see the eight-story building that housed her store swaying from side to side.

When she returned, the shelves had collapsed like dominoes, sending more than 1,000 books into piles on the floor.

Officials removed the sidewalk, which was littered with construction work that appeared to have fallen from the building. Residents took pets and suitcases, preparing to spend the night elsewhere, and a woman carefully accompanied her 89-year-old uncle in blue and white striped pajamas.

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Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford, Stephanie Eschenbacher, Anthony Esposito, Raul Cortes, Diego Orr, Mexico City Newsroom; Written by Dave Graham. Editing by Stephen Eisenhamer, Sandra Mahler, Cynthia Osterman and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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