TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A powerful earthquake shook central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing buildings in plumes of dust and killing at least 149 people. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.
Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly, AP reported.
President Enrique Pena Nieto visited the school late Tuesday and said 22 bodies had been recovered there, two of them adults. He added in comments broadcast online by Financiero TV that 30 children and eight adults were still reported missing. Rescuers were continuing their search and pausing to listen for voices from the rubble.
The quake is the deadliest in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused 90 deaths in the country’s south.
Luis Felipe Puente, head of the national Civil Defense agency, reported Tuesday night that the confirmed death toll had been raised to 149.
His tweet said 55 people died in Morelos state, just south of Mexico City, while 49 died in the capital and 32 were killed in nearby Puebla State, where the quake was centered. Ten people died in the State of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City on three sides, and three were killed in Guerrero state, he said.
The count did not include one death that officials in the southern state of Oaxaca reported earlier as quake-related.
The federal government declared a state of disaster in Mexico City, freeing up emergency funds. President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had ordered all hospitals to open their doors to the injured.
Mancera, the Mexico City mayor, said 50 to 60 people were rescued alive by citizens and emergency workers in the capital. Authorities said at least 70 people in the capital had been hospitalized for injuries.
The federal interior minister, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said authorities had reports of people possibly still being trapped in collapsed buildings. He said search efforts were slow because of the fragility of rubble.
“It has to be done very carefully,” he said. And “time is against us.”
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Tasnim News Agency