Powerful earthquake hits Mexico on fateful anniversary, killing at least 2

MEXICO CITY (Reuters), Sept 19 – A magnitude 7.6 earthquake shook western Mexico on Monday. It happened on the anniversary of two deadly temblors that left at least two people dead and damaged buildings. It also knocked out power, causing residents to scramble for safety.

Authorities said that two people died in Manzanillo’s Pacific port. One was crushed by the facade of an department store, while the other was found dead at a shopping mall. Social media videos showed the mall’s roof falling into the gym’s top floor as people shouted for help.

Authorities also reported damage to several hospitals near the epicenter in the western state Michoacan. This was in a sparsely populated area of Mexico. The government stated that one person was hurt by glass falling at one of these hospitals.

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The earthquake occurred shortly after 1 p.m. (1800 GMT), near Mexico’s west coast, and close to Michoacan’s border with the state Colima. This is where the U.S. Geological Survey reported that major port Manzanillo was located.

It was only 15 km (9 mi) deep, which would have increased its impact.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued tsunami warnings for coastal areas. It warned that waves could reach 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9.0 feet) above the tide level.

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Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City Mayor, stated that there are no immediate reports of major damage to the capital following the earthquake. The quake struck on the same day that two destructive earthquakes ravaged the country in 2015 and 2017.

“It seems like a curse,”Isa Montes, a 34 year-old graphic designer from the city’s central Roma neighbourhood, spoke out about the timing of the earthquake. Helicopters flew overhead, looking over the city.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico – one of the most prestigious universities in the country – said that there was no scientific explanation and that the three major earthquakes occurred on the same day. It also attributed the occurrence to pure coincidence.

Others were unable to believe it.

“It’s this date. There’s something about the 19th,”Ernesto Lanzetta is a business owner in Cuauhtemoc. “The 19th 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 responded to the earthquake by sharing a variety of memes online, expressing their anxiety and finding humor through the natural disaster. Continue reading

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador noted that there was also material damage close to the epicenter. Images shared on social media showed buildings severely damaged.

Mexican authorities claimed that the seismic alert had been sounded almost two minutes before the earthquake struck, giving residents enough time to evacuate.

Some people in the capital still struggled to understand that it was a real earthquake, as the government had already raised the alarm earlier in day as a reminder of past earthquakes.

POWER OUT

Pictures taken in Coalcoman (Michoacan), near the epicenter showed damaged buildings and shingles. One store had merchandise scattered all over the floor.

Parts of Mexico City’s trendy Roma neighborhood, 400 km (250 mi) from the epicenter, were without power. According to the national power utility outages affected 1.2 Million users.

Roma residents were seen on the streets holding their pets while tourists who visited a local market with a guide were clearly confused and upset. Traffic lights were not working and people clutched phones, waiting for calls or sending text messages.

Clara Ferri, a Roma-based owner of an Italian bookshop, stated that she told a customer she heard the windows rattle and she advised her to get out. After 16 years living in the area, her ears were tuned to the sound of earthquakes.

“It was like the dentist’s drill for me,”She said.

Ferri heard the rumbling intensify and, as she gathered her neighbors at an intersection to discuss their concerns, she saw the eight-story building housing her shop tilting from side to side.

She returned to find shelves had fallen like dominos, sending more than 1,000 books onto the floor.

Officials secured the sidewalk, which was littered in masonry that had fallen off the building, with ropes. Residents began to trickle out with their pets and suitcases, ready to spend the night somewhere else. A woman carefully escorted her uncle, aged 89, in his blue-and white striped pajamas.

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Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford and Stefanie Eschenbacher. Raul Cortes and Diego Ore. Writing by Dave Graham. Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Sandra Maler. Muralikumar anantharaman.

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