Strong earthquake shakes MexicoBack to list
At least 226 people have died following a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Mexico Tuesday, according to a tweet from Luis Felipe Puente, National Coordinator of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior. Of those killed, nearly half were in the country's capital, according to Puente.
Rescuers searched for survivors through the night after Tuesday's powerful earthquake shook Mexico City and surrounding states, killing scores and leaving many trapped under collapsed buildings.
At least 149 people died in Mexico City --- the country's capital -- and in the states of Puebla, Mexico and Morelos, officials said.
The epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 34.1 miles (55 km) south-southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, according to the US Geological Survey.
President Enrique Peña Nieto said 22 bodies were found in the debris of an elementary school in Mexico City that collapsed due to the earthquake. At least 30 children were still missing Tuesday night, he said.
"We are facing a new national emergency," Peña Nieto told citizens earlier on his first address following the earthquake.
Thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians, including college students, were working side by side to dig through tall piles of rubble after dozens of buildings crumbled earlier on Tuesday.
Some carried away buckets full of debris while others called out the names of those who have been rescued. At moments, rescuers asked for total silence as they tried to hear voices coming from under the debris.
The quake left the busiest city in Mexico in chaos. Windows buckled and shattered, falling several stories to the ground while thousands of people streamed into the streets running away from buildings and potential gas leaks.
People struggled to get home when power poles that toppled in the quake blocked the streets and the public transportation system temporarily shut down operations. Nearly 5 million customers were still without power early Wednesday.
All public and private schools in Mexico City and some of the states affected by the earthquake will remain closed until further notice, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted.
Tuesday's earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Just hours before the quake hit, many people took part in drills and commemorative events.