Mexico has been hit by yet another powerful earthquake this month. The latest quake has resulted in the deaths of at least 224 people. It has been measured at a magnitude of 7.1.
One of the most devastating earthquakes to hit Mexico occurred in 1985. On September 19, 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City. The tremors caused widespread damage. Over 5,000 people died due to the earthquake and much of the region was damaged. After the main earthquake, there were two large aftershocks. The first one occurred on September 20, 1985 and it was 7.5 in magnitude. The second powerful aftershock, which was 7.0 in magnitude, took place on April 30, 1986. According to authorities, the events caused damage worth four billion dollars during that period. 412 buildings collapsed during the earthquake and 3,124 were severely damaged.
On September 7, 2017, the region was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes. According to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, the quake was 8.1 in magnitude and he said it was the most powerful earthquake to have hit the region in a century. The earthquake resulted in the deaths of 98 people and injured over 300. Estimates note that at least 1.5 million people were affected and 41,000 homes were damaged.
Exactly 32 years after the temblor that caused widespread destruction in the region back in 1985, the region was once again hit by a powerful earthquake.
The latest one has been measured at a magnitude of 7.1. It has resulted in collapsed building across the region. According to initial reports, at least 224 people have been killed and hundreds more are trapped. Most of the damage has occurred in Mexico City with reports stating that at least 117 people have died in the region. This number is expected to rise in the immediate future. Many of the residents had participated in earthquake drills earlier in the day, when the real one hit.
Thousands fled the streets in the aftermath to escape the damage. However, many have stayed back to assist in the rescue efforts. According to authorities, more than 200 schools in Mexico City have been affected. About 15 of those schools have been severely damaged.
The epicenter of the earthquake has been isolated to Puebla state town of Raboso which is about 123 kilometres southeast of Mexico City.
Enrique Peña Nieto published a video message through his official Twitter account requesting people to stay calm.
Freelance reporter Natasha Pizzey was quoted by NPR as saying, “It was one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced in my life. It's a bit like being on top of a double-decker bus that's trying to brake and you're thinking you're about to get thrown. And of course, you're thinking, 'Are things going to fall on top of me — is the building going to collapse.”
Mexico City is reportedly particularly vulnerable to earthquakes as it has been built on a former lake bed. This amplifies the effects of distant quakes.
Our assessment is that Mexico with better safety laws and disaster preparations since the 1985 the country is more prepared to respond to this earthquake. However, Tuesday’s earthquake struck without any warning despite an alert mechanism. It normally sounds an alarm beforehand. We believe that it’s hard to predict such natural disasters and hence the only remediation is putting sound disaster mitigation strategies in place.