More than 100 people were killed in a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit central Mexico on Tuesday, and the number of deaths is expected to rise due to the scale of the quake.
Some 54 people were killed in the state of Morelos, government secretary Matias Quiroz said, mainly in the towns of Jojutla, Cuernavaca, Tetecala and Miacatlan.
In Mexico City, where 29 buildings collapsed, 30 people were killed, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told Foro TV.
In Puebla state, at least 41 people died, Governor Tony Gali said in a radio interview, adding that 15 of the victims were attending a mass at a church when the building collapsed.
The governor of Mexico State, Alfredo del Mazo, said nine people were killed in his state, including several minors.
The death toll may rise, especially in the capital, where numerous buildings were knocked down, potentially trapping people inside.
A television news channel broadcast live scenes of rescue workers helped by volunteers sifting through a mountain of rubble in search of survivors of a building that came crashing down in the city’s Colonia del Valle neighborhood.
Periodically, the rescue workers would call for complete silence in an attempt to hear possible calls for help from beneath the collapsed structure.
According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude quake, which hit at 1:14 p.m. local time, was located 5 km from Raboso, in the central Mexican state of Puebla.
Its proximity to the capital made the quake feel as intense as the 8.2-magnitude earthquake that hit southern Mexico on Sept. 7, reportedly the strongest to hit the country in a century.
Television footage showed the normally placid canals of the city’s floating gardens of Xochimilco, a popular tourist attraction, churning with waves, and the boats being tossed about as if on the high seas.
At 11 a.m., barely two hours before the quake struck, a nationwide earthquake drill marked the 32nd anniversary of a deadly quake that killed thousands on Sept. 19, 1985. PNA-Xinhua