No deaths re­ported in af­ter­math of earth­quake in Mex­ico

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY KATHER­INE COR­CO­RAN

MEX­ICO CITY | A pow­er­ful earth­quake that shook Mex­ico from its mas­sive cap­i­tal to its re­sort-stud­ded south­ern coast dam­aged hun­dreds of homes and sent thou­sands of pan­icked peo­ple flee­ing from sway­ing of­fice build­ings, yet ap­par­ently didn’t cause a sin­gle death.

As of early Wed­nes­day, there were still no re­ports of deaths from Tues­day’s mag­ni­tude-7.4 quake cen­tered near the bor­der be­tween the south­ern states of Oax­aca and Guer­rero, even af­ter 10 af­ter­shocks.

Mex­ico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said Wed­nes­day about 300,000 peo­ple in the south side of the cap­i­tal were with­out water af­ter the quake dam­aged two aque­ducts. He said two peo­ple were re­ported in­jured, in­clud­ing the driver of an empty bus crashed un­der a col­lapsed pedes­trian bridge.

Nine other peo­ple were in­jured in Oax­aca state, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Seis­mol­o­gists and civil pro­tec­tion of­fi­cials said where the earth­quake hit and how it hit ap­pear to have limited the dam­age, along with im­proved con­struc­tion in the cap­i­tal since a mas­sive 1985 quake.

In Guer­rero, home to Aca­pulco where lit­tle dam­age was re­ported, of­fi­cials say about 800 homes were dam­aged and 60 col­lapsed. In three vil­lages near the epi­cen­ter, classes were sus­pended in­def­i­nitely.

“It hasn’t stopped shak­ing here and the truth is that we had to sus­pend classes be­cause peo­ple are re­ally afraid of what can hap­pen to their chil­dren,” said Guer­rero state Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Sil­via Romero told the daily Mile­nio news­pa­per.

In the town of San Juan Cac­ahu­ate­pec, in Oax­aca state, fright­ened res­i­dents spent the night out­side their homes and woke up early Wed­nes­day to clean up fallen roof tiles and pieces of brick fences from around their houses.

No build­ings were re­ported to have col­lapsed in Oax­aca, said civil pro­tec­tion spokes­woman Cyn­thia To­var.

Au­thor­i­ties said the ab­sence of tall build­ings in the moun­tain­ous ru­ral area is one rea­son for the lack of ca­su­al­ties.

“An­other fac­tor to con­sider is how tested an area has been,” said Su­san Hoover, a seis­mol­o­gist with the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey.

There have been 15 earth­quakes of mag­ni­tude 7 or stronger since 1973 within 310 miles of Tues­day’s quake. Weaker build­ings col­lapse with each quake, leav­ing a cadre of stronger ones that can with­stand the shak­ing.

The quake’s epi­cen­ter was 200 miles south-south­east of Mex­ico City. De­spite the dis­tance, it was felt pow­er­fully in the cap­i­tal, where of­fice tow­ers swayed vi­o­lently and the streets filled with peo­ple flee­ing build­ings. Some peo­ple sat on curbs, head in their hands, to calm them­selves.

Mex­ico City was se­verely dam­aged in 1985 when a mag­ni­tude-8 earth­quake killed at least 10,000 peo­ple. But ex­perts said the Tues­day quake was smaller and re­leased far less en­ergy.

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