Powerful Earthquake Shakes Southern Mexico

Posted September 11, 2017

September 8, 2017-Late Thursday night, a massive magnitude 8.1 earthquake-the strongest to shake the country in 100 years-struck Mexico off the country's southern coast.

The tremor revived memories of a 1985 natural disaster in Mexico City that killed more than 5,000 people, though initial reports showed Thursday night's quake, which struck in the state of Chiapas bordering Guatemala, didn't cause fatalities at that scale.

A tsunami warning has been issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras.

People in Mexico City ran out into the streets in pyjamas and alarms sounded after the quake struck just before midnight, a Reuters witness said.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said between the initial quake and aftershocks at least 50 million people of the country's 120 million population felt it. The epicentre was in the Pacific Ocean, some 600 miles (1,000 KMs) southeast of the capital and 74 miles (120 KMs) off the coast, CNN reported.

In 1985, the country was shaken by an 8 magnitude quake with the epicenter located near the capital of the country, causing the death of thousands of people.

The quake was strong enough to be felt in Mexico City, 630 miles to the northwest.

Reports thus far indicate that at least 100 people have been killed, and that number is expected to rise as day breaks and crews are able to get into areas where victims may be trapped.

Widespread, hazardous tsunami waves were possible, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

One of the worst hit towns was Juchitán, in Oaxaca, where at least 17 deaths were reported. One of the children was killed after a wall collapsed and the other was a baby that died in a hospital that lost electricity, Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nunez told the AP.

Emergency services are assisting with the rescues of people in collapsed buildings.