Mexico earthquake: at least 149 dead after powerful quake – latest updates


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mexico earthquake: at least 149 dead after powerful quake – latest updates” was written by Helen Davidson, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 20th September 2017 03.57 UTC

25 dead at Mexico City elementary school

At least 21 children and four adults have died at the Enrique Rebsámen elementary school, the public education undersecretary has confirmed.

Elevent children have been rescued, but Animal Politico said at least 28 were still missing.

Part of the school – which reports have said was four storeys high – collapsed during the earthquake, trapping students and employees inside.

A short time ago the Mexican president visited the Enrique Rebsámen school, where a building collapsed.

Enrique Peña Nieto met with parents who told him their children are still missing.

Also in Mexico City, the Technologico de Monterrey, one of the country’s most prominent private universities, has reported the death of one student and injuries to 40 others at its city campus.

The death toll has been revised again, with 149 people confirmed to have been killed in the earthquake.

Head of the Mexican civil protection agency, Luis Felipe Puente, gave the update a short time ago.

Puente said 55 people had been killed in Morelos, 49 in Mexico City, 32 in Puebla state, 10 in the state of Mexico and three in the coastal state of Guerrero.

President Enrique Pena Nieto had ordered hospitals to treat all injured regardless of health coverage.

AT&T has freed up its phone and data services to allow people to contact each other at no cost.

The seismological agency also said there had been 11 aftershocks following the quake, with the largest at a magnitude of 4.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has expressed his sympathy for Mexico.

Former US president Barack Obama also offered his condolences.

Earlier, US president Donald Trump, and a number of Latin American leaders offered their support to the country now facing a long recovery from two fatal earthquakes.

There are varying reports that children have been killed after part of an elementary school in Mexico City collapsed.

Rescue efforts are underway to free children trapped in the rubble at the Enrique Rebsamen school. According to reports some have already been rescued but others are still missing. I’ll bring you more details when I can confirm it.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, says he is saddened by the loss of life and damage resulting from the earthquake in Mexico.

In a statement Guterres extended his condolences to the government and people of Mexico and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

The earthquake appears to have triggered an eruption of Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano.

In Atzitzihuacan on the slopes of the volcano, a church collapsed during mass, killing 15 people, Puebla Governor Jose Antonio Gali said.

Popocatépetl is an active volcano in the states of Puebla, Mexico, and Morelos. It is Mexico’s most active volcano, previously erupting as recently as July this year.

The US Geological Survey has been monitoring and analysing the earthquake, and has published some estimates of its impact.

The USGS has given an “orange alert”, warning of “significant” shaking-related fatalities of up to about 1,000 people are likely.

It has issued a “red alert” for the earthquake’s likely economic impact.

“Extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Mexico. Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response.”

At least one man has been rescued from a collapsed seven-story factory. He told rescuers there were still people trapped inside.

As night falls in Mexico and rescuers continue to look for survivors, the civil defence agency has raised the confirmed number of earthquake fatalities to 139.

Luis Felipe Puente, the head of the agency, said the highest death toll was in the state of Morelas, where at least 64 people have died.

Another 36 deaths have been reported in Mexico City, at least nine in neighbouring Mexico state, and 29 in the state of Puebla to the south.

Reuters reported one death was also reported in the state of Guerrero, in southwestern Mexico, which Puente did not include in his count.

David Agren reports from Mexico City:

Mexicans in the Condesa neighbourhood brought buckets and formed lines to carry away rubble from a badly damaged building. Many arrived in work clothes, anxious to pitch in. Others arrived with bottles of water and pop to refresh the volunteers. Still more made sandwiches to feed them, while others donated masks to prevent dust inhalation.

The outpouring of solidarity was reminiscent of how many ordinary Mexicans heroically helped out after the 1985 quake – although back then the government’s response was lacking and people were forced to fend for themselves.

Volunteers were working as dusk fell on an eerily calm Mexico City, and they put out calls for portable lighting.

There are reports of about 100 people trapped in a collapsed textile factory. I’ll bring more details as I get them.

Associated Press has filed this report on people still trapped in rubble.

The federal interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said authorities had reports of people possibly still being trapped in collapsed buildings. He said search efforts were slow because of the fragility of rubble.

“It has to be done very carefully,” he said. And “time is against us.”

At one site, reporters saw onlookers cheer as a woman was pulled from the rubble. Rescuers immediately called for silence so they could listen for others who might be trapped.

Mariana Morales, a 26-year-old nutritionist, was one of many who spontaneously participated in rescue efforts.

She wore a paper face mask and her hands were still dusty from having joined a rescue brigade to clear rubble from a building that fell in a cloud of dust before her eyes, about 15 minutes after the quake.

Morales said she was in a taxi when the quake struck, and she got out and sat on a sidewalk to try to recover from the scare. Then, just a few yards away, the three-story building fell.

A dust-covered Carlos Mendoza, 30, said that he and other volunteers had been able to pull two people alive from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building after three hours of effort.

“We saw this and came to help,” he said. “It’s ugly, very ugly.”

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers desperately remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017.
Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers desperately remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images
People search for survivors in a collapsed building in Mexico City Earthquake hits Mexico City - 19 Sep 2017
People search for survivors in a collapsed building in Mexico City Earthquake hits Mexico City – 19 Sep 2017 Photograph: German Eluniversal/via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock
Rescuers and residents look for victims amid the ruins of a building knocked down by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Rescuers and residents look for victims amid the ruins of a building knocked down by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph: Pedro Mera/Getty Images

Mexican-American film director, Guillermo del Toro has called for internet and phone companies to make their services free for people.

Mexico-based journalist, Andrea Noel, reports hundreds of people have already opened their wifi for others.

Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, who said he was flying to Oaxaca when the earthquake hit but immediately returned to Mexico City, has declared Mexican emergency services are available to the whole affected population. He has ordered the evacuation of damaged hospitals, transferring patients to others nearby.

Miguel Ángel Mancera, the governor of Mexico City, has declared an emergency to release support services.

The public works government department said there had been no damage to public works and freeways were open – a claim quickly questioned by incredulous residents.

Mexico City MetroBus said many services have resumed but people have been asked to keep lanes clear for emergency services.

US President Donald Trump has offered his support to Mexico following the earthquake.

The US and Mexico – as well as their neighbours in the Caribbean – have suffered a string of natural disasters in recent weeks and despite diplomatic hostilities between Trump and Mexican leaders, there have been offers of assistance.

Mexico had offered aid to the US in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but last week said it had to withdraw its offer because it needed to focus its resources on the Mexican recovery from its deadly earthquake a week prior.

The president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, said his country stands ready to provide whatever assistance is required.

Updated

A Mexican news agency is among the many posting shocking footage of the earthquake’s aftermath, including collapsed buildings and destroyed roads.

The hospitals have begun receiving the injured, and people have been urged to keep the streets clear for emergency services.

There are many reports of people coming to the aid of their neighbours, searching for survivors in the rubble before emergency services have reached sites.

The death toll is sadly rising swiftly.

Authorities are now reporting at least 119 dead, including 30 in Mexico City, 54 in Morelas, and 11 in Puebla state.

Bordering the capital, in the state of Mexico, governor Alfredo del Mazo said at least nine people had lost their lives there.

It is the deadliest earthquake since the one which hit Mexico City in 1985 which killed thousands, exactly 32 years ago today.

Just two weeks ago 90 people died in an earthquake in the south of the country.

“The building swayed like a hammock,” said Guillermo Salazar, a construction foreman, whose crew was working on a half-finished apartment block.

Everyone escaped the structure unscathed. Salazar credited the earthquake drill two hours earlier with preventing a chaotic situation.

“It was helpful. Everyone knew what to do,” he said.

In the years since the 1985 earthquake, a culture of prevention has been promoted by the local government. Building codes were also tightened.

Salazar expressed mixed opinions on the city’s efforts.

“The building regulations are good. The problem is the inspectors,” he said. “They still come around asking for (bribe) money.”

The death toll has risen to 94, with at least 30 dead in Mexico City alone.

Between 50 and 60 people have been pulled alive from rubble, according to Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who said at least 44 buildings collapsed.

Reporter Nina Lakhani has described “total chaos” where she is in Mexico City.

Lakhani said huge buildings had collapsed in La Condesa, and the army had arrived.

“This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” she said. “[It’s] total chaos.”

Lakhani said the building pictured below was seven floors high.

“No one has been rescued yet. Authorities took so long to arrive so hundreds of people were trying to get the rubble out with spades and hands and shopping trollies.”

A collapsed building in La Condesa neighbourhood in Mexico City. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday 19 September 2017.
A collapsed building in La Condesa neighbourhood in Mexico City. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday 19 September 2017. Photograph: Nina Lakhani for the Guardian

Videos are emerging of the earthquake and its aftermath, with buildings collapsing across the region and rescuers rushing to free people form the rubble.

At least 79 people have been killed in a powerful earthquake in Mexico, with the death toll expected to rise.

The Mexican government did not break down the locations of the deaths, but said they included Mexico City and the states of Morelos, Puebla and Mexico.

The 7.1 magnitude quake hit southern Mexico on Tuesday, 8km southeast of Atencingo in the state of Puebla at a depth of 51km, according to the US Geological Survey.

Buildings collapsed, trapping people, and work remains underway across the region to free them.

“Mexico City marked the anniversary of the 1985 disaster with an earthquake drill – just 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to a real quake striking,” Guardian journalist, David Agren, reported.

“Cars were crushed, sirens wailed and plumes of dust rose high into the air. Swathes of the city were left without electricity.”

“There was no alarm. The building just shook,” said David Carbajal, who works from his apartment. “The building usually shakes when trucks pass by. But this was much more violent.”

Stay with us for updates as the situation develops.

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Mexico earthquake: at least 149 dead after powerful quake – latest updates - NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).