It’s September 19 again: At least two people die in a violent earthquake in Mexico. The seismological institute of the country gave the strength on Monday (local time) as 7.7, the USGS agency as 7.6. Shortly after an emergency drill to mark the anniversaries of the 2017 and 1985 earthquakes, people ran to safety. A tsunami warning was in effect at times.
According to the USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was southeast of the city of Aquila in the western state of Michoacán. There was panic and damage to buildings, especially on the Pacific coast. Power was temporarily cut in about 1.4 million homes. In the capital, Mexico City, where federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expected to visit on Tuesday, damage was limited.
The Mexican government announced that a woman died in the collapse of a building in the port city of Manzanillo in the state of Colima. A man buried by debris also died there. Hours of rescue attempts were unsuccessful, reported the local civil defense. According to local media, the man was in a gym when the earthquake struck at 1:05 pm local time.
In Colima, three people were injured in a gas explosion, and another person was injured in broken glass at a hospital in Michoacán. According to civil protection, more than 48 million people in the country, which has 126 million inhabitants, felt the earthquake.
September 19 is a sad date in Mexico: 37 years ago, an earthquake hit Mexico City on this day, killing thousands of people. The ground shook again on September 19, 2017 – 369 people died, 228 of them in Mexico City.
In the hours after Monday’s earthquake, there were more than 500 aftershocks, the most severe measuring 5.3. The Mexican government said that engineers and technical teams in the most affected areas, the states of Colima and Michoacán, are checking the condition of buildings and infrastructure. According to the Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, no serious damage was initially reported there.
Media such as Televisa television and “El Universal” newspaper reported damage elsewhere. A hospital in the community of Maruata in Michoacán was heavily damaged and patients were evacuated. Schools were also suspended in Colima on Tuesday to check the state of the schools.
The earthquake alert was triggered in Mexico City, 45 minutes after a nationwide disaster response drill on the afternoon of the 5th and 37th anniversaries of the 2017 and 1985 earthquakes, respectively.
However, experts rule out a connection between the three earthquakes and the date. That was just an “unpleasant coincidence,” said researcher Victor Hugo Espíndola of the National Institute of Seismology.
The entire west coast of South, Central and North America lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire. This is the most geologically active region in the world. 90 percent of all earthquakes worldwide occur there.