Mexico has been hit by an 8.2 magnitude earthquake that has resulted in the deaths of at least six people.
It is the strongest earthquake in over a century to have hit the region.
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.
According to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, the quake was 8.2 in magnitude and he said it was the most powerful earthquake to have hit the region in a century. However, estimates from U.S. Geological Survey has measured the earthquake to be 8.1 in magnitude. Further clarity is currently unavailable.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Pager system has issued a red alert over this event. The body predicts economic and human loss after earthquakes. The organization noted, “High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response.”
The earthquake was reportedly 19km deep. It also triggered a series of aftershocks of the magnitude 6 in its wake. Even though details are still emerging, at least six deaths have been confirmed due to the earthquake. Mexico’s president tweeted: “Sadly, there are reports that people have died. My deepest condolences to their families.”
Schools have been shut down and the hospitals have been affected by the earthquake. Over a million people had to deal with power loss in their areas, however much of the electricity has returned. The city authorities are still assessing the damages.
Warnings have already been issued for possible tsunamis that could be triggered due to the earthquake. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, “Based on all available data ... widespread hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts.”
Luis Carlos Briceño, a 31-year-old architect visiting Mexico City spoke about his experience noting, “I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over.”
There are unconfirmed reports of a death Guatemala’s San Marcos state which shares a border with Mexico. Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said. “We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don’t have details.”
Our assessment is that the earthquake will cost the government millions of dollars to restore the region. The government must also provide immediate support to those who have been displaced by the tragic events.