At least 61 people were reported dead in one of the most powerful earthquakes ever seen in Mexico. It struck off the country’s southern coast, destroying buildings and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night.
The quake was so strong that it caused buildings to sway violently in the capital city more than 650 miles (1,000 kilometers) away. People ran out of their homes and gathered in groups.
The incident created a second national emergency for Mexican agencies already bracing for Hurricane Katia on the other side of the nation.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said that 61 people were killed, 45 in Oaxaca state, 12 in Chiapas and 4 in Tabasco. He declared three days of national mourning considering the loss.
Among the worst-hit city was Juchitan, on the narrow waist of Oaxaca known as the Isthmus as 36 victims died here. About half of Juchitan’s city hall collapsed with the debris of ruined houses on the roads of the city.
A hospital also collapsed, said Pena Nieto after visiting the city and meeting with people. The patients were shifted to other facilities.
Authorities were constantly working to re-establish the supply of water and food and provide medical attention to the needy.
“The power of this earthquake was devastating, but we are certain that the power of unity, the power of solidarity and the power of shared responsibility will be greater,” Pena Nieto said.