Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Strong Quake Hits Mexico City No Deaths Reported in Worst Temblor in Capital since '85

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Strong Quake Hits Mexico City No Deaths Reported in Worst Temblor in Capital since '85

Article excerpt

MEXICO CITY -- A powerful earthquake in southern Mexico shook buildings in this megacity Tuesday, sending objects tumbling from shelves, cracking walls and emptying buildings of millions of frightened residents fleeing to the streets.

But there were no reports of fatalities, and only seven people were injured nationwide in what officials said was the strongest quake to hit this city since a 1985 temblor killed as many as 10,000 people. Six aftershocks rocked the capital.

The quake hit at 12:02 p.m. local time (2:02 p.m. EDT) and lasted for more than a minute. Communication networks were jammed in the quake's immediate aftermath. Utility lines fell to the ground in much of central Mexico City.

President Felipe Calderon, traveling in Monterrey in northern Mexico, said, "Fortunately, there are no reports of serious damage. The hospitals and clinics are operating normally, with some broken glass, a big fright, some panic, it is true. But they are all right," he said.

There was some confusion about where the quake had occurred. The U.S. Geological Survey, which said the quake measured 7.4 on the Richter scale and happened 12 miles underground, placed the epicenter in Oaxaca state, 200 miles southeast of the capital. Mexican seismological authorities reported, however, that the epicenter was a bit farther north, in Ocotepec in Guerrero State, home to the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

Damage appeared to have been greater nearer the epicenter. The Guerrero state governor said 800 houses had been affected by the quake, the official Notimex news agency reported, and five people were injured in Oaxaca, according to Laura Gurza, chief of Mexico's civil defense system. Two people were injured in Mexico City, she added.

Because the quake occurred under land, there was no threat of a tsunami.

In addition to the capital, jolts from the temblor were felt in the states of Oaxaca, Michoacan, Tabasco, Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero and the state of Mexico.

The lack of fatalities seemed miraculous. …

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