Major earthquake hits Mexico sparking tsunami warning
The earthquake hits western Mexico on the anniversary of two previous quakes
Mexico City — A powerful earthquake struck western Mexico on Monday on the anniversary of two devastating quakes, killing at least one person, damaging buildings, knocking out power and sending residents of Mexico City scrambling on to streets for safety.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a video address a person had died in the nearby Pacific port of Manzanillo after a wall collapsed in a store. Authorities also reported damage to two hospitals in the western state of Michoacan near the epicentre.
Shortly after 1pm, the magnitude 7.6 quake hit near the coast on the border region of Michoacan and the neighbouring state of Colima, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake was relatively shallow, at only 15km deep, which would have amplified the shaking.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for parts of Mexico’s coast, saying waves reaching up to 3m above the tide level were possible.
Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said there were no immediate reports of major damage in the capital after the tremors, which rumbled through Mexico on the same day as major quakes battered the country in 1985 and 2017.
“It’s this date, there’s something about the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanzetta, a business owner in the Cuauhtemoc borough of the city. “The 19th is a day to be feared.”
In an earlier message before announcing the death in Manzanillo, López Obrador had said there were no initial reports of fatalities but that there was material damage in areas near the epicentre. Images posted on social media showed buildings badly damaged.
Mexican authorities said the seismic alert had sounded nearly two minutes before the quake struck, giving residents time to evacuate their homes.
Still, some people in the capital struggled to believe it was a real quake as the government had already sounded the alarm earlier in the day as a practice exercise commemorating the past earthquakes that ravaged Mexico on that same September day.
In Coalcoman, Michoacan — near the epicentre of the earthquake — pictures showed shingles knocked off homes and building walls cracked by the force of the quake. In one store, merchandise was scattered across the floor.
Power was knocked out in parts of the central Roma area of the capital, about 400km from the epicentre.
Residents cradling pets stood on the street, while tourists visiting a local market with a local guide were visibly confused and upset. Traffic lights stopped working, and people clutched their phones, sending text messages or waiting for calls to get through.
Thousands of people were killed in the September 19 1985 earthquake and more than 350 died in the September 19 2017 quake.
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